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.