This is not my photo, it was sent to me by someone who urged me to post it far and wide, because this is the truth that doesn’t make it into the newspapers.
I debated whether to give a warning in the title of the post, because just about anyone reading this post is going to be as upset by that picture as I am. But he died, hunted by a Arizona Game and Fishing Department employee who used his radio collar to track him. The radio collar, paid for with tax dollars, which he wore for the three months after the AGFD trapped him until his death by the AGFD, was ostensibly attached to this mountain lion for the purpose of scientific study.
Instead, it was used to count the number of animals the mountain lion killed for survival. When the number of sheep he killed was too high, according to the hunters who want the sheep available for humans to kill with guns for the purpose of sport and trophies and bragging rights, then it was determined that this mountain lion was to be punished by death.
The AGFD employee then took a gun and tracked this mountain lion down by using the radio collar that was supposed to be used for scientific research. In what was essentially a canned hunt, this young mountain lion was killed for the sin of eating too many sheep.
And so we have a picture. A picture of a mountain lion, dead, the radio collar that the AGFD used for his canned hunt clearly visible. This is the consequence of mismanagement of a National Wildlife Refuge. This is the consequence of management making decisions with an extremely small subset of the population in mind – hunters.
It will get worse. Mountain lions are not easy to trap to put the collars on them, and so the sheep are being collared instead. This means that the managers of the “refuge” will justify killing every mountain lion without even the weak argument of how many sheep a specific mountain lion has killed. Does it matter? Probably not, because the likelihood of every mountain lion killing at least 2 sheep in 6 months is high. Regardless it is an escalation of the attack on mountain lions, an escalation of the effort to eradicate Kofa of predators. Already there has been a notice that a radio collar accidentally fell off of a second lion, a collar malfunction, supposedly. Call me cynical, but my bet is that they killed the second lion in the same sort of canned hunt, and rather than deal with potential outrage from those of us who care, they conveniently found only the collar.
The president of the United States has decided that these same managers should do everything they can to promote hunting. That means this dead mountain lion is just one in a long list of predators that will share the same fate. It is ignorance at its worst, a complete lack of ethics, and a betrayal of what these people are supposed to be doing – protecting the environment and the wildlife at a refuge that was created for the purpose of being a refuge for wildlife. The refuges have become no better than private hunting grounds for people entertained by killing sentient beings, except these refuges are supported by our tax dollars, and our tourist dollars.
The refuges and the media claim that these refuges couldn’t continue without the revenue from the hunting permits, but this is false. This ignores the millions of dollars in revenue from the many other peaceful visitors to the refuges. Photographers, hikers, tourists, campers.
But I have a feeling this is all a set up. The refuges are under attack on many levels. Hunting is dying in this country, though it is a slow death, long overdue. The powers that be are making noises about trying to encourage more hunters, more killers, but when a CNN article talked about revenue and completely ignored the amount of money non-violent visitors bring in to these refuges, I got a big hint of what is coming.
The military wants free reign in these protected areas, and one way for them to have that is if management can claim that without hunting license revenues, which are bound to continue falling, they no longer have the money to support a refuge. Refuge status will be taken away, or parts of the refuges will be sold to the military, most likely with no public review or say.
These are the consequences. Death, destruction.
I don’t know what we can do, except write letters and make our voices heard, make their voices heard.
We need to contact our state governors, the Director of the USFWS, and the US Fish and Wildlife Regional Directors, as well as the AZ GFD officials.
- Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne – http://www.doi.gov/
- Key DOI officials – http://www.doi.gov/secretary/officials.html
- Director of the USFWS Dale Hall: dale[underscore]hall [at] fws [dot] com
- Wildlife Refuge Map (by State): http://www.fws.gov/refuges/refugeLocator.html
- National Wildlife Refuge System: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/
- RDTuggle at fws dot gov (Region 2 Director Dr. Benjamin Tuggle)
- Chris_Pease at fws dot gov (Chief NWRS Region 2)
- Thomas_Harvey at fws dot gov (Refuge Supervisor AZ/NM)
- 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