Target: Jim Unsworth, Director of Washington Fish and Wildlife Department
Goal: Return cougar hunting quota to proven numbers before season begins.
As much as 21 percent of the cougar population will be killed due to a raised quota for hunters in Washington. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department changed the hunting limit from a recommended 12-16 percent of the population to 17-21 percent, despite there being no data to show that this will prevent cougar and human encounters.
Currently the population is stable at about 3,000 estimated cougars living in the state. The usual quota allows about 200 of these animals to be killed during the September hunting season in efforts to try and prevent attacks. The amount of cougars that are permitted to be killed has been studied by local universities to ensure it doesn’t affect the safety of the population.
Trophy hunters generally target older and bigger looking male cougars, leaving behind the younger and less experienced males. Younger males are more likely to test the boundaries with humans and cause conflict and research shows that increasing the amount of older cougars who get killed could easily bring up cougar attacks.
Without evidence the new percent will stop attacks, it is more likely to be harmful than beneficial. Sign the petition below to urge the Fish and Wildlife Department to return the cougar hunting quota back to its original, practiced, and proven amount. They should not risk drastic drops in population and increased attacks in an effort to please trophy hunters.
Dear Director Unsworth,
The choice to raise the cougar hunting quota is an unproven way to prevent animal attacks, and could instead cause damage to a stable population. Allowing this to happen will most likely result in a population increase in young male cougars, which do not have the experience that prevents them from entering residential areas.
Allowing trophy hunters to kill off even more older cougars in an effort to cull the population is more likely to increase attacks from the younger replacements. Cougars are a respected animal for the state and a mascot for one of Washington’s universities. Their population should not be even more culled by hunters when less violent and proven tactics could be used by humans to help prevent attacks.
Don’t allow the cougar quota to go up and risk damage to the population. Make sure that these animals are properly protected and that the culling efforts remain within proven statistics, instead of overreaching with possible consequences for both cougar and human.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Dcoetzee