Rugged mountains at sunrise.
 
Opinion
Text: The editorial voice of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

4/12/2010

A Second Chance

On Monday, April 5th, Governor Dave Heineman signed into law Legislative Bill 836, and Nebraska proudly took its place alongside several western states--including California--who believe that acceptable livestock management practices include having the government kill offending wildlife predators at the taxpayer's expense. It is too bad that a state, whose mountain lion population possibly numbers somewhere in the teens, lets unwarranted fear dictate their wildlife management policies.

Nobody likes to see, or is advocating the violent death of beloved pets or other domestic animals. In fact, for the past eight years MLF with its Living with Lions program has done its best to protect domestic animals and reduce the potential for human/mountain lion conflicts--and with fairly successful results.

One state which is proudly implementing the very same non-lethal pet and livestock management practices espoused by the Mountain Lion Foundation is Florida.

Forty-plus years after placing the Florida panther on the Federal Endangered Species List, the value many Floridians place on their precious panthers is quite evident. In Florida, unlike elsewhere in this nation, each panther's life is considered essential. Florida residents are required to take responsibility for keeping their own domestic animals safe. They can't count on the government to pick up the tab for their mistakes or bad judgment, because the issuance of a depredation permit to punish offending panthers is not an option.

It's too bad Nebraska lawmakers gave in to the fear mongering diatribes of the ranching and hunting lobbies. They had the opportunity to treat the return of a native species--which their ancestors had killed off--as a second chance to prove to the world that Nebraskans cherished all the natural resources their state had to give.

On an ironic side note: LB 836 was originally written to address the dangerous over population of Nebraska's deer herd. The mountain lion depredation provision was inserted just recently because it couldn't pass on its own merits as Legislative Bill 747. Maybe if Nebraska had more mountain lions they wouldn't have a deer problem.