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Statement on Governor Ricketts’ approval of regulation to open trophy-hunting season on Nebraska’s mountain lions in 2019

Media Contact: Alison Shapiro: ashapiro@humanesociety.org, 301-721-6472

Governor Ricketts has approved a regulation to open a trophy hunting season on Nebraska’s mountain lions in 2019. In June, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission voted in favor of the regulation, despite widespread public opposition. The Humane Society of the United States opposes the opening of a trophy hunting season on this small population of native cats.

Jocelyn Nickerson, Nebraska State Director for the HSUS, issued the following statement: “We are extremely disheartened that Governor Ricketts ignored overwhelming opposition from Nebraskans – by a margin of more than 100 to 1 – and approved the trophy hunting of Nebraska’s small and fragile mountain lion population. Mountain lions in the Pine Ridge already face significant threats from other causes, such as poaching and vehicle collisions, and the additional pressure from trophy hunting will undermine their population and threaten their long-term survival. We urge the legislature to step in and heed the wishes of the majority of Nebraskans who want to see mountain lions protected.”

Contact your lawmakers and let them know you support a prohibition on trophy hunting of mountain lions.

Among our concerns:

  • Hundreds of both in-state and out-of-state comments were submitted to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in opposition to the proposal, with only a few comments in support. Comments from Nebraska residents opposed to the season outnumbered those in favor by more than 100 to 1.
  • The proposed trophy hunting quota amounts to 20% of the Pine Ridge population, a rate considered too high by mountain lion experts and one that could threaten the long-term survival of Nebraska’s mountain lions.
  • Around 59 mountain lions are thought to reside in this area. Because kittens may not be legally hunted, this leaves approximately 40 cats vulnerable to unnecessary killing.
  • Nebraska Game and Parks will also allow the use of hounds to hunt mountain lions for part of the season; this method is considered unsporting by many hunters and non-hunters.
  • Once driven to extinction in Nebraska, resident mountain lions have been detected in the state since 2006. These native cats are still in a recovery phase in Nebraska, and a trophy hunting season will undermine that recovery.
  • Such a hunt also hinders the expansion of mountain lion populations into their historic range to the south and east of Nebraska.

 
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