A Win For Wyoming People and Mountain Lions

An intimate portrait of a captive female mountain lion. Photograph by Mark Elbroch / Panthera.
An intimate portrait of a captive female mountain lion. Photograph by Mark Elbroch / Panthera.

I’m thrilled to share that Wyoming legislature voted yesterday in favor of science and to protect the balance of nature on which our state so deeply depends. HB0012, which would have allowed the trapping of mountain lions in Wyoming, failed to pass the House on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm. Thank you to everyone who participated and provided support, through signing petitions, making phone calls, writing letters, or sharing the news.

This bill was introduced to provide “additional tools” to reverse recent mule deer population declines, a proposition lacking any scientific validity that I discuss at length in my last post found here. In truth, this bill was about killing predators rather than hunting for food, in a throwback to the attitudes of a century ago when every predator was labeled “bad” and anything with hooves was considered “good.” Recently, similar bills to permit mountain lion trapping came before the legislatures of New Mexico and Montana. New Mexico passed the bill into law, while Montana defeated it. At this point in time, only Texas and New Mexico allow for the legal trapping of mountain lions. In Texas, mountain lions are considered vermin and the state doesn’t even tally how many are killed each year. Mountain lions also suffer trapping as by-catch in states where trapping of other species is legal. For example, approximately 16% of mountain lions killed by hunters in Nevada show injuries from being caught in traps, likely legally set for bobcats. Importantly, voting down HB0012 maintained protection for the reproductive capital of Wyoming mountain lion populations: female mountain lions with kittens, and the kittens themselves.

House Representative Sam Krone eloquently opposed HB0012 for sportsmen against indiscriminate trapping, followed by Representative —> Read More