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Common Sense Attitudes Towards Mountain Lions

October 12, 2007.

Boulder, Colorado is a beautiful little town at the base of the Colorado Rockies that is known for being an extraordinarily liberal community. So, there were certainly some people who found fault when a Wisconsin man living near Boulder shot a lion that had attacked one of his dogs in the middle of the night, and then advanced towards him.

What I found interesting, though, is that 87% of respondents (as of October 11) of an online poll conducted by one of the local news stations supported the man's actions and felt that charges should not be brought against him. It's refreshing to know that common sense can prevail, even in such an off-center community.

One of the local Denver news stations provided coverage and conducted the poll.

In other news, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issued a news release on September 17th that discussed findings of a recently concluded studies of mountain lion populations in West and South Texas, along with other lion research data conducted in the state.

Texans value their lions, but seem open to managing them. In one of the studies, 84% of respondents believed mountain lions are an essential part of nature, and 74% believed efforts should be made to ensure their survival in Texas. Sheep and goat ranchers in West Texas, most likely to feel a direct economic impact from lion predation, called for the most aggressive management of lion populations. Rural landowners in South Texas, where lower lion densities cause less economic impact, were more tolerant of lions.

Other interesting findings from the Texas studies included:

  • Although lions are classified as nongame animals in Texas and can be taken by anyone who possesses a valid hunting license, with no season or bag limits, populations appear to be stable.
  • South Texas mountain lions eat primarily whitetails, followed by feral hogs and javelina. Livestock accounted for 10% of the animals killed by lions.
  • In a 1997 Texas study, of 19 lions radio-collared by the researcher, 10 died during the three-year study. 1 of these was from natural causes, 1 during capture, 2 were taken by trappers, 5 were taken killed by hunters, and 1 died from unknown reasons.

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