On December 14, 2016 the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) voted in favor of a plan which will spend an estimated $4.5 million dollars to trap and kill mountain lions and bears in the upper Arkansas River and Piceance Basin. The goal in eliminating an increased number of mountain lions and bears is to assist the mule deer population which has declined in recent years. This proposal is extremely controversial and has received a large amount of criticism both from concerned Colorado residents as well as subject matter experts such as wildlife biologists and ecologists.
Several Arguments against this plan include:
- Human factors such as increased gas drilling, rural development and roadways have likely caused the problems in deer populations.
- The bears which reside in Colorado are black bears whose diet is approximately 80 - 90% vegetation. While they have been known to kill young ungulates during the spring, deer are not a primary food source. Therefore killing bears to help the deer is not a valid solution.
- Killing adult bears and mountain lions will cause their young to be vulnerable to starvation and attack thus eliminating even more predators than planned.
- Key predators such as mountain lions and bears are a necessary component in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.
Before moving forward with a controversial and drastic plan to kill local wildlife, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission should be obligated to propose alternative solutions as well as heed the advice of subject matter experts who have already vehemently opposed this idea. Alternative solutions could include decreasing the number of deer which are allowed to be hunted each year, increasing the amount of protected deer habitat in the study areas and decreasing the amount of development activities within deer habitats.
January 9, 2017
Dear Governor Hickenlooper,
In December the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted in favor of a program which will experiment with killing mountain lions and bears in order to try to increase the mule deer population. In spite of much criticism from subject matter experts and local Coloradoans, the CPW voted to pass this measure. I believe the CPW has not employed sound judgement in making this decision due to the following reasons:
Scientists and conservationists as well as the public have spoken out against this program both before and after this vote. Yet the CPW has not listened to the people whom they are supposed to represent. Hunters and agricultural supporters make up the majority of the voting members of the CPW. They are going to be inclined to vote in favor of their interests. It's abundantly clear that the interests of conservationists, scientists and the general public are being overlooked and not provided a vote in this matter.
Myself and the thousands of individuals who have signed my petition demand that you take swift action against this cruel and nonsensical program. Not only should the CPW's voting members represent the views of ALL Coloradoans, they should be held accountable to heed the advice of the subject matter experts who have vehemently disapproved of the program.
This issue is receiving national and international attention, it would be a shame for the image of Colorado to be tarnished due to one bad decision. Please help save Colorado's wildlife for future generations.