The Mountain Lion Foundation has launched a short, but important public service announcement in New York City's Times Square Plaza. This PSA will run through mid-July and shines a light on one of the biggest issues that America's lion is facing today: trophy hunting. If you're in the area, stop by the jumbotron at 1500 Broadway in Times Square NY and check it out! Our PSA is on the upper screen to the left of the Nasdaq screen.
The Mountain Lion Foundation was formed by a small group of concerned citizens in Sacramento California in 1986 to inspire people across the nation to act on behalf of lions and their habitat, to present practical solutions to complex problems, provide unbiased information to media, aid puma activists, promote and disseminate lion research, and to influence regulations and changing laws. The Foundation was instrumental in the implementation of Proposition 117, a citizens' initiative which banned the hunting of mountain lions in California. Florida panthers, a subspecies of mountain lions, are protected from hunting as a federally listed endangered species.
Mountain lions, also known by more than 100 names including cougar, puma, panther, lion, painter, and catamount, have endured constant hunting pressure in all but two states where lions are present. Today, trophy hunters kill more of America's remaining lions than bounty hunters killed during the years of government-sponsored cougar-removal to benefit livestock interests. The best available science from decades-long research of mountain lions and their social structures in multiple states and provinces repeatedly demonstrates that trophy hunting increases human conflicts with the wild cats. In spite of their biologists' published scientific research, wildlife agencies continue to set unsustainable hunting quotas, often increasing them every year.
While many people are aware of the ethical and conservation issues surrounding trophy hunting of Africa's lions, elephants, leopards and much more, mountain lions in the United States are often overlooked. America's lion was nearly wiped out from North America. In February of 2018, the Eastern cougar was officially declared extinct . According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), mountain lion populations are in decline. Unsustainable trophy hunting quotas, along with habitat loss and additional human-caused mortality, are leading to an uncertain future for America's big cat.
Click here to learn about the history and current status of trophy hunting from our trophy hunting story map.
Heavy hunting pressures in the western United States suppress otherwise recovering mountain lion populations. The recovery of mountain lions in states like South Dakota and Nebraska are critical if lions are ever to reclaim portions of their historic range. The Black Hills of South Dakota has been a primary source of dispersing mountain lions that have been documented as they travel eastward. As many of you have likely heard, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission just approved an unsustainable mountain lion hunt of their small population for the 2019 season. We are discouraged by this outcome, but will not give up the fight to save America's lions!
Occasionally, mountain lions, are confirmed in the Midwest and eastern United States. These are typically dispersing sub-adults that are searching for mates or a territory of their own. With trophy hunters killing more and more lions each year, the likelihood of mountain lions re-establishing out east is greatly reduced. If there are ever again to be mountain lions occupying their eastern range, hunting pressures need to be significantly reduced, if not altogether eliminated.
Join the Mountain Lion Foundation today to help the fight in Saving America's Lion.