Colorado Parks & Wildlife Set to Kill Bears + Cougars, Humans Next?
How ridiculous does that headline sound? Just as ridiculous as killing off bears and cougars as an experiment.
After a unanimous vote, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife are moving forward with an "experiment" to kill off mountain lions and bears to see if predations are the cause for a dwindling mule deer population.
While the CPW's intentions might be good, their just shooting fish in a barrel. This is an experiment, a test to gather data with an effort to prove a hypothesis, even if this data doesn't prove said hypothesis.
Science has proven human development and habitat degradation is to blame. Groups from around the state have opposed this decision, including the Humane Society, Colorado State University scientists and the National Wildlife Federation -- which supports hunters.
The CPW plans on killing 15 mountain lions and 10 to 25 bears in the Piceance Basin and 20 to 30 mountain lions in the Upper Arkansas Basin a year for up to six years. That would be roughly 270 mountain lions and 150 bears.
Let's take a look at the different populations around Colorado.
There are approximately 19,000 bears, 3,000 to 7,000 mountain lions, and approximately 390,000 mule deer. Humans make up about 5.4 million of the state, with approximately 950,000 people who hunt or fish.
There seems to be one group that makes up more than the mule deer population -- which, by the way, is more than bears and cougars combined -- humans. So why not start there?
Because that's utterly ridiculous. We can't kill our own kind to save another animal. That'd be playing God, right? So why are we going to kill another species to do the same?
Yes, bear and cougars kill other animals. That's what they do to feed themselves and their young. It's how animals work. We do the same thing. I mean, countless cows, chickens, pigs, fish and even plants give up their lives to support ours.
I'm not against hunting, at all. I grew up hunting and fishing. Deer = delicious! But if theirs not enough to go around -- for both us and the wildlife that depends on it -- then maybe we need to lay off the human intervention.
These two quotes appear in the CPW's The Story of Colorado's Mule Deer:
“The time was in Colorado when deer were
so plentiful that it seemed almost impossible
for them to be killed off; but with the increase
in population; and the more general
settling-up of our state, the deer have been
killed; until now they must be carefully
protected, or they will meet the fate of the
buffalo and become entirely extinct.”
— Colorado Game and Fish Commissioner
James Shinn, 1911
“The wilderness has been conquered and
all the game killed off.”
— Theodore Roosevelt, 1899
All the years I've lived in Colorado, I haven't seen one bear or one cougar. But I have seen herds of elk, herds of deer -- heck, I even saw a few moose within the first couple of months living here.
I really am all for bringing back the mule deer population in Colorado, but I feel there are other areas we can "experiment" in other than arbitrarily killing off other animals.
Obviously, no killing of humans has or ever will happen for this cause. Or at least we hope not.
This is just my two cents. Take it for what it's worth.