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When a Minnesota dentist killed a prized African lion named "Cecil" he received an onslaught of criticism and reignited the debate concerning hunting. Man's quest to dominate all of nature has been a passion dating to the primitive days of mankind. During this primitive era, man's need to hunt was strictly for survival and to preserve their existence and dominance over the wild. In this modern era, man still finds the need to unleash this internal drive for power. The passion to hunt, however, is no longer a necessity for survival; it is a game or sport for which the trophy is one of nature's most intriguing animals, the mountain lion. Yellowstone national park is one of the few places that have been "blessed with carnivore diversity." When the park was established in 1872, mountain lions freely roamed the park and were to be regulated. In the early 1900's, it was federal policy to kill large predators to protect game, such as elk, in the park (3). Coincidentally between 1916 and 1971 more than 12,000 mountain lions were killed for bounties and for sport in California. The estimated number of cougars had diminished to a range from 600-2,000 (2). At this time Governor Ronald Reagan began to understand the necessity to protect these cougars from extinction. In 1971 a moratorium was signed against the trophy hunting of these cats (5). By the 70's the lions had returned to the park and gradually their numbers reached a stable quantity. Nearly two decades later the mountain lion once again faces the wrath of man's desire for the sport of hunting. With California's mountain lion population at nearly 5,000, the passing for proposition 117 ensured the safety of these heavenly creatures (3). Prop 117 permanently bans the trophy hunting of mountain lions. The lion is now the only form of wildlife that is protected by the state of California that is neither threatened or endangered (6). The National Rifle Association seeks to lift this moratorium and allow the hunt of the cats. Their effort would carry into the year 1996 where they sought for the passing of proposition 197 which would legalize the trophy hunting of the cougars. However their efforts as well as the proposition failed to change the fate of the lions (5). Recent media has displayed the mountain lion as being a fierce creature with a history of unprovoked attacks. However what is failed to be conveyed to the public is the fact that the human population is doubling every 25 years. With the climbing cougar and human populations, an increased competition of food has sent hungry mountain lions to suburban backyards in an effort to seek nourishment (4). By doing so the number of lion attacks on humans has elevated. The fact that these lions are losing their habitats to human developers, raises the question of whether lions pose a threat to humans or not. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has fought for the rights to lawfully hunt the mountain lion. Their efforts would be for the "good of society," since the poaching of these cats would decrease their population and directly decrease the numbers of human attacks. California's current law permits the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to remove any lion that poses a risk to people, property or pets. In 1994, 122 mountain lions were killed under the depredation permits issued by the DFG (6). The NRA doesn't believe that these measures are enough to protect the people of California from these "dangerous" animals. Not only do that want to permit the hunting of cougars, but they also seek to overturn the voters' 1990 decision to ban their cruel sport of trophy hunting (7). Their methods of hunting include the use of cruel steel-jawed traps, leghold traps and poisons. The Sierra Club describes vividly the hunt of a lion for the so called "sport." "In a remote area, a wild cougar is pursued by dogs until frantic and exhausted, the mountain lion climbs into a tree in desperation. In his vehicle, the tracker follows the radio signals at a distance. The cougars will remain treed for days until the hunter can be called to the scene. Sometimes the cougar is shot in the paws to ensure that is remains alive but immobilized. Finally a handgun is used to kill the cougar at point-blank range (6)." This method of trophy hunting is not in the best intentions of public safety, but rather for the personal gratification of hunters which can sell a cougar's pelt for $1,000-$1,500. With this in mind, they still attempt to deceive the public by "hiding behind disingenuous concern for public safety (7)." Does the current law that permits the humane destruction of threatening mountain lions protect the public? Yes! The existing law is designed to properly dispose of the animals if it does indeed pose as a threat to the public. Would the hunting of cougars give greater protection to the people? No! In British Columbia where lion hunting is permitted and relentless, nearly 200 lions are killed for sport each year. Despite this massacre, British Columbians experience over 50% of all the lion attacks in North America (7). To put things into perspective, we can exam the attack rates of mountain lions in comparison with other natural occurrences. Between 1890 and 1990, of the 53 documented attacks, there have been only 13 fatalities (3,7). Of the 13 fatalities, 11 have occurred in states and provinces where trophy hunting is legal. The risks of being injured or killed by a mountain lion is infinitesimal. According to the DFG records, 85 people have died and 700 people have been injured due to hunting accidents (7). So why not propose a proposition to lawfully hunt these poachers, which pose a much greater threat to humans than do mountain lions? For every person killed in the last century by mountain lions, 300 people have been killed by bees, 1200 people have been killed by lightening and 750 people have died when cars collided with dears (7). With these statistics in mind, we should now consider the validity of the NRF's claim of hunting as a means to diminish mountain lion attacks and uphold human safety. The unnecessary trophy hunting of mountain lions would do nothing more than humor those than enjoy dominating the divine creatures of nature. Safety from cougars is more efficiently established by educating the public about these predators and simply respecting the lands in which they dwell. If in fact a lion poses as a menace, then humane and rational means should be used to properly resolve the situation. The unmerciful slaying of lions is not a necessity nor a sensible solution for the coexistence of man and beast.
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Hunting Lions: Sport or Murder?
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Hunting Lions: Sport Or Murder?

Words: 1094    Pages: 4    Paragraphs: 9    Sentences: 60    Read Time: 03:58
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              When a Minnesota dentist killed a prized African lion named "Cecil" he received an onslaught of criticism and reignited the debate concerning hunting. Man's quest to dominate all of nature has been a passion dating to the primitive days of mankind. During this primitive era, man's need to hunt was strictly for survival and to preserve their existence and dominance over the wild. In this modern era, man still finds the need to unleash this internal drive for power. The passion to hunt, however, is no longer a necessity for survival; it is a game or sport for which the trophy is one of nature's most intriguing animals, the mountain lion.
             
              Yellowstone national park is one of the few places that have been "blessed with carnivore diversity. " When the park was established in 1872, mountain lions freely roamed the park and were to be regulated. In the early 1900's, it was federal policy to kill large predators to protect game, such as elk, in the park (3). Coincidentally between 1916 and 1971 more than 12,000 mountain lions were killed for bounties and for sport in California. The estimated number of cougars had diminished to a range from 600-2,000 (2). At this time Governor Ronald Reagan began to understand the necessity to protect these cougars from extinction. In 1971 a moratorium was signed against the trophy hunting of these cats (5). By the 70's the lions had returned to the park and gradually their numbers reached a stable quantity.
             
              Nearly two decades later the mountain lion once again faces the wrath of man's desire for the sport of hunting. With California's mountain lion population at nearly 5,000, the passing for proposition 117 ensured the safety of these heavenly creatures (3). Prop 117 permanently bans the trophy hunting of mountain lions. The lion is now the only form of wildlife that is protected by the state of California that is neither threatened or endangered (6). The National Rifle Association seeks to lift this moratorium and allow the hunt of the cats. Their effort would carry into the year 1996 where they sought for the passing of proposition 197 which would legalize the trophy hunting of the cougars. However their efforts as well as the proposition failed to change the fate of the lions (5).
             
              Recent media has displayed the mountain lion as being a fierce creature with a history of unprovoked attacks. However what is failed to be conveyed to the public is the fact that the human population is doubling every 25 years. With the climbing cougar and human populations, an increased competition of food has sent hungry mountain lions to suburban backyards in an effort to seek nourishment (4). By doing so the number of lion attacks on humans has elevated. The fact that these lions are losing their habitats to human developers, raises the question of whether lions pose a threat to humans or not.
             
              The National Rifle Association (NRA) has fought for the rights to lawfully hunt the mountain lion. Their efforts would be for the "good of society," since the poaching of these cats would decrease their population and directly decrease the numbers of human attacks. California's current law permits the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to remove any lion that poses a risk to people, property or pets. In 1994, 122 mountain lions were killed under the depredation permits issued by the DFG (6). The NRA doesn't believe that these measures are enough to protect the people of California from these "dangerous" animals. Not only do that want to permit the hunting of cougars, but they also seek to overturn the voters' 1990 decision to ban their cruel sport of trophy hunting (7).
             
              Their methods of hunting include the use of cruel steel-jawed traps, leghold traps and poisons. The Sierra Club describes vividly the hunt of a lion for the so called "sport. " "In a remote area, a wild cougar is pursued by dogs until frantic and exhausted, the mountain lion climbs into a tree in desperation. In his vehicle, the tracker follows the radio signals at a distance. The cougars will remain treed for days until the hunter can be called to the scene. Sometimes the cougar is shot in the paws to ensure that is remains alive but immobilized. Finally a handgun is used to kill the cougar at point-blank range (6). " This method of trophy hunting is not in the best intentions of public safety, but rather for the personal gratification of hunters which can sell a cougar's pelt for $1,000-$1,500. With this in mind, they still attempt to deceive the public by "hiding behind disingenuous concern for public safety (7). "
             
              Does the current law that permits the humane destruction of threatening mountain lions protect the public? Yes! The existing law is designed to properly dispose of the animals if it does indeed pose as a threat to the public. Would the hunting of cougars give greater protection to the people? No! In British Columbia where lion hunting is permitted and relentless, nearly 200 lions are killed for sport each year. Despite this massacre, British Columbians experience over 50% of all the lion attacks in North America (7).
             
              To put things into perspective, we can exam the attack rates of mountain lions in comparison with other natural occurrences. Between 1890 and 1990, of the 53 documented attacks, there have been only 13 fatalities (3,7). Of the 13 fatalities, 11 have occurred in states and provinces where trophy hunting is legal. The risks of being injured or killed by a mountain lion is infinitesimal. According to the DFG records, 85 people have died and 700 people have been injured due to hunting accidents (7). So why not propose a proposition to lawfully hunt these poachers, which pose a much greater threat to humans than do mountain lions? For every person killed in the last century by mountain lions, 300 people have been killed by bees, 1200 people have been killed by lightening and 750 people have died when cars collided with dears (7). With these statistics in mind, we should now consider the validity of the NRF's claim of hunting as a means to diminish mountain lion attacks and uphold human safety.
             
              The unnecessary trophy hunting of mountain lions would do nothing more than humor those than enjoy dominating the divine creatures of nature. Safety from cougars is more efficiently established by educating the public about these predators and simply respecting the lands in which they dwell. If in fact a lion poses as a menace, then humane and rational means should be used to properly resolve the situation. The unmerciful slaying of lions is not a necessity nor a sensible solution for the coexistence of man and beast.
Lion Essay 
1) Dutcher, J. (2010, July). The Secret Life of America's Ghost Cat. National Geographic, v182, 38.

2) Hogue, L. (2007, January). Ghosts of the Hills. Audubon, v99, 80.

3) Hornocker, M. (2010, July). The Secret Life of America's Ghost Cat. National Geographic, v182, 52.

4) Preyser, M. (1996, January 8). Predators on the Prowl. Newsweek, v127, 58.
http://www.newsweek.com/predators-prowl-176970

5) www.sierraclub.org/chapters/ca/mountain-lion/history.html

6) www.sierraclub.org/chapters/ca/mountain-lion/info.html

7) www.sierraclub.org/chapters/ca/mountain-lion/safety.html

8) www.lao.ca.gov/prop197.html
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