The killing of Cecil the lion caused a worldwide firestorm of protest. Trophy hunting cougars in Washington is equally controversial.
In 1996, Washington banned the hound hunting of cougars because we believe they are iconic species that deserve protection. Despite this citizen mandate, Washington state officials passed regulations that sidestep the citizen initiative to appease a vocal minority of trophy hunters or those who believe they cannot co-exist with cougars.
Ironically, science shows that over-hunting cougars increases human-wildlife conflicts. In April, the Washington Wildlife Commission arbitrarily raised the hunting quota on cougars in zones where wolves also live, nearly doubling the quota in some areas. The decision to raise the quota was made in a two-minute exchange, where sound science and representative democracy were ignored.
Recently, citizen groups submitted a formal petition to the sommission asking that they reverse its April decision. The sommission meets Aug. 21 to decide what to do about Washington’s cougars. Please urge the sommission to reverse its April decision. We must stand to protect our cougars and democratic public processes. We, the majority, have rights equal too - they don’t just belong to the trophy hunters.