Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Kofa Wildlife “Refuge” – Mountain Lion Hunt Proposal

arizona mountains

I got an action alert a few days ago from Animal Defense League – their Arizona branch needs letter writing help to the manager of the Kofa Wildlife Refuge near Yuma, deadline of 12/29/06. There are mountain lions living there now, so of course the hunters want to open fire on them. If it is alive, moving, and not human (still true?), they consider it a “renewable resources” and an opportunity for “recreation”. Also known as blood and gore, gruesome death by bullet. Reading the justifications for allowing a hunt like this pissed me off. This is the letter I sent:

I am writing to express my opposition to the draft Mountain Lion Hunting Plan, and to express my support for the no action alternative.

I heard about the planned mountain lion hunt on the Kofa “Refuge”, and I am disturbed. First of all, the biological need has not been demonstrated. All of your own documentation admits that there is little known about the mountain lion population, and nothing demonstrates that their population is in need of “control.” Conversely, the assessment clearly states that it is not known whether the mountain lion population could withstand a hunt.

I read through the Environmental Assessment, and the logic is obvious – predators are being “controlled” through these hunts so that the sheep and deer and other “prey” animals have a population growth that then justifies the hunting seasons for the humans to go in and do what the predators would have done, had they not been slaughtered.

Second of all, calling blood sport “recreation” is offensive. You are talking about something more serious than “recreation” – the purposeful ending of another being’s life. If it were recreation, truly recreation, these hunters would be satisfied with shooting animals with a camera instead of a gun. They’d be satisfied with a video game, “virtual death”, as opposed to actual death. It is not recreation to kill animals, and opening a so-called wildlife refuge to the blood sport of hunting is to betray the animals you are supposedly giving refuge to.

Third, the population of hunters in this country is extremely small. By your own numbers, hunters make up only 2000 out of 50,000 visits per year. That makes the hunters 0.04% of the visitors to the refuge. Wildlife observation and photography should be considered more important than hunting as a “recreational” use of the refuge, for the simple reason that a greater percentage of people will go to the refuge to observe and photograph wildlife than to kill wildlife. Yet hunting will directly and negatively impact both observation and photography of wildlife. This is not compatible with the stated purpose of the Refuge.

Logically there is no reason to allow the hunt, and every reason to prevent it from happening. If one of the stated objectives in allowing the mountain lion hunt to happen is recovery of the sheep population, why do you allow the bighorn sheep to be hunted by humans in the first place? There is no logic to your stated objectives and the contradictory actions of allowing hunting of both the bighorn sheep and the mountain lions.

Lastly, the public has not been given adequate time to provide comments. Please extend the comment period for an additional 60 days so that people have time, outside of the holiday rush, to voice their opinion.

Wildlife Refuge my foot. There is no refuge there for the animals. It is treated more like a breeding ground for the “entertainment” of hunters. Maybe they forgot to look up the definition of refuge in the dictionary.



19 responses to “Kofa Wildlife “Refuge” – Mountain Lion Hunt Proposal

  1. Gary December 29, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for this alert. I sent a letter:

    As an avid – and peaceful – hiker and photographer, I am deeply opposed to the proposed plan to hunt mountain lions in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Why do hunters, who make up a tiny percentage of refuge visitors, have so much influence on policy? A hunt would not only ruin the refuge experience for a far greater number of visitors (and would-be visitors), it would also defile and disgrace the idea of a “refuge.” People like my parents, my wife, and me visit wildlife refuges partly because it is a sanctuary, a place where animals can live free. The thought that the noble mountain lion would have to evade, or get killed by a hunter’s bullet disturbs me, and the fact that most hunters enjoy this bloodsport adds insult to injury.

    I urge you to rescind this proposal. Let the refuge remain a true refuge for its inhabitants.

  2. Deb December 29, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks so much for writing, Gary!

  3. Ron January 6, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Federal Court Decision Triggers Cancellation of Wildlife Refuge Mountain Lion Hunt

    All the effort paid off.

  4. Deb January 6, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Awesome! Ron, thanks for the link!

  5. Ron January 12, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    The newest addition to the Kofa NWR website has a refuge staff response called: ‘Response to Public Review’ at this link:

    All the comments to the “Plan” and “EA”, are supposed to be posted on the Kofa website in February 2007, so check the site then for a summary of those comments.

  6. Deb January 12, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks again, Ron! I’ll be curious to see their summary.

  7. Ron June 6, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department personnel kill mountain lion north of Kofas

    Last February this lion was captured and fitted with a collar then his movements were tracked by satellite. Only 3 months of data were collected before he was killed. All the time, money, and effort to capture and collar this young tom was wasted. There was a wealth of information to collect on this animal to factually understand the desert cougar’s natural history.

  8. Deb June 6, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Ron. I’m very disturbed by this article. It actually sounds like the collar was used to help the officials track and then kill this young male moutain lion. They didn’t mention the age/condition of the sheep or the elk he killed, which is a significant factor in the impact he would have been having on the sheep population. Furthermore, I saw no mention of whether the same officials who felt that the mountain lion was killing too many sheep would make a move to stop humans from killing sheep. Bah. This got my blood pressure up!

    I’ll write a few letters, and get a few others to write some letters. Thanks again, Ron.

  9. Ron Kearns June 26, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    More Kofa NWR News. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see some of the comments (the comments take awhile to load)

  10. Deb June 28, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Ron, thanks so much for keeping me in the loop, again! I want to do another post on this, hopefully soon!

  11. Ron June 30, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    A Temporary Restraining Order regarding water developments installed in wilderness without any public notification whatsoever, no NEPA, etc. except that the hunters who helped install the tanks were secretively notified. The project was not even announced in the hunting club’s newsletter for fear someone outside the club might read it. Other projects are usually openly announced. The AGFD and Kofa NWR staffs were completely secretive on this action. Apparently, legal reaction is the only way to try to stop these unethical, dishonest wildlife managers. First the HSUS legal action to halt the lion hunt, now this TRO regarding the wilderness water. I guess the next legal action will be for killing the collared cougar that was providing valuable research data before he was shot in a cowardly manner by tracking him down by satellite location data.

  12. Deb July 1, 2007 at 11:49 am

    This is discouraging, the way it is so secretive, with the AGFD and NWR staff working with the hunting people, and apparently being afraid of what anyone else might say about their activities. (which, to my mind, automatically calls into question the legitimacy of their actions.)

    Thanks again for keeping me up to date!

  13. Ron July 8, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    More Kofa NWR mountain lion news. We must ethically prevent the killing of the second lion that was collared the day after the collared tom was killed.

  14. Deb July 8, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    I have been meaning to write another post about this. Thanks, Ron, for keeping me in the loop. I’ll work on it tonight.

    Any ideas for what we can do in addition to writing letters to Kofa and to the paper?

  15. Ron July 8, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Deb,

    Letter writing is a good means to counter the agencies actions, but they are good a perpetuating false statements. Unfortunately, it is not against the law for government officials to make false statements to members of the public or to be deceptive. I will keep you and your readers apprised of letters I send and mention how you might be able to help. Your ideas are always welcome. To me, this is all a matter of fairness and ethics in government.

    Here is the .pdf of the recommended actions for Kofa (lions, water developments, bighorn sheep, etc.) on the website:

    You and your readers could request that the AGFD Bighorn Sheep 4-17-07 recommendations be halted until there is public review and comments on the agencies’ recommendations. The water developments were constructed in wilderness and the lion was killed without giving the public a chance to comment on the agency document. Other Arizona Regions ask for and allow public review of such documents before implementation.


    RDTuggle at fws dot gov (Region 2 Director Dr. Benjamin Tuggle)

    Chris_Pease at fws dot gov (Chief NWRS Region 2)

    Tom_Harvey at fws dot gov (Refuge Supervisor AZ/NM)

    Paul_Cornes at fws dot gov (Kofa Refuge Manager)

    Lvoyles at azgfd dot gov (AGFD Region IV Supervisor Larry Voyles)

    Duane Shroufe (AGFD Director) directorsoffice at azgfd dot gov

    AGFD Commission directorsoffice at azgfd dot gov

  16. Deb July 8, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks Ron. I’ll see what I can do to get some letter writing momentum going, and if any other ideas occur to me, I’ll suggest those as well.

  17. troy October 15, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Can we end the hysteria here? Oh, never mind. There’s no point even getting started with you idiots…

    How much common sense can I expect on a site that gives me headaches with white-on-black lettering for dramatic effect?

  18. Mike Gibbs August 16, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Thought comes to mind for how many years has the state come in with helicopters and darted bighorn to move them to other areas of the state to reestablilsh the population? I know of at least 6 0r 7 years that I patroled that area. How many years of taking young stock out of a herd dose it take to reduces a herd. And I don’t remember any of the lions I saw in the kofa’s making any kind of impack

  19. Deb August 18, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I am not sure when they stopped moving the bighorns, but at some point a few years ago they did stop. That’s a great question overall though – how long did it take the managers to react to a drought-induced (and human impacted) natural dwindling of the population before they stopped removing even more from the herd? I don’t have that answer. As with any population, though, there is a bell curve in terms of impact, and if the population is forced onto the lower end of that bell curve, they’ll struggle to recover. I have no doubt that this is part of the herd’s current number issue, though it is also a natural response to the decades long drought. Less resources means lower population.

    Thanks for sharing your hand’s on observations, Mike.

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