Colorado legislators introduced Senate Bill 31 today to end trophy hunting of mountain lions, bobcats and Canada lynx. This groundbreaking legislation is being championed by a powerhouse coalition of legislators including Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis (Boulder County), Sen. Joann Ginal (Fort Collins), Rep. Monica Duran (Wheat Ridge) and Rep. Judy Amabile (Boulder).
Each year, trophy hunters kill hundreds of Colorado’s mountain lions and thousands of bobcats, typically chasing them down with packs of dogs. In addition, bobcats are frequently trapped and then shot at close range. Hunters kill these animals for trophies, bragging rights and to sell their pelts on international markets for fur production. Polling data shows that the large majority of Coloradans across the state are opposed to the trophy hunting of these animals.
Aubyn Royall, Colorado state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said, “We applaud the introduction of S.B. 31 to protect our state’s wild cats from trophy hunting. It’s time for this archaic, inhumane and scientifically unsupported practice to end in our state. There is no scientific justification for trophy hunting of wild cats and it can actually lead to increased conflicts in our human communities. Preventing the needless killing of these animals is critical now more than ever before, as Colorado’s wild cats are increasingly threatened from climate change and exploding human development in our wild spaces.”
Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis of Senate District 17 in Eastern Boulder County is bringing this legislation forward. She commented: “We know that 72% of Colorado residents believe that our state’s beautiful mountain lions and bobcats should not be hunted as trophies, yet, hunters kill hundreds each year. Mountain lions self-regulate their population sizes and very few livestock are killed by them in Colorado. We do not need to be hunting these gorgeous animals for sport in our state.”
Sen. Joann Ginal, the co-prime sponsor of this legislation in the Senate, said” "Colorado is special because of our wildlife and wild spaces. These spaces would not be the same without mountain lions, bobcats and lynx. We live in Colorado so that we may co-exist with these creatures, not kill them for sport."
Rep. Monica Duran from Jefferson County is the co-prime sponsor of this bill in the House. Expressing her opposition to the cruelty of trophy hunting wild cats for sport, she said: "There is no justification for chasing mountain lions with hounds simply to kill them for bragging rights. This practice must be stopped in Colorado.”
S.B. 31 also protects Canada lynx, a rare species currently listed under the Endangered Species Act, to prevent any future hunting of them if they ever lose their federal protections. SB 31 also includes commonsense exemptions for killing wild cats when doing so is necessary, such as for livestock protection, public safety and euthanizing an injured animal.
In addition to the four sponsoring legislators, S.B. 31 is being supported by a large coalition of wildlife conservation organizations including the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, Mountain Lion Foundation, Project Coyote, Sierra Club Colorado, WildEarth Guardians and Boulder Bear Coalition.
Additional information about S.B. 31 and the organizations supporting this bill can be found at protectwildcats.org.