Four days from now, the South Dakota 2011 Mountain Lion Hunting Season will open. Cloaked in the false mantle of "sustainability" this year's annual slaughter could be the highest ever and will, in our judgment, put South Dakota's mountain lion population at risk of extirpation--AGAIN!
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department refuses to accept that their latest mountain lion management plan--the one which dictates how mountain lions are treated for the next five-years--is fatally flawed, and could lead to the cascading extinction of the species in that state. Instead they, and the Commission which provides direction and oversight, seem hell-bent on defying calls for restraint in order to provide an extremely small number of South Dakotans the opportunity to behave like sadistic killers (rather than the true sportsmen they claim to be) as they shoot (at close range) quivering, frightened animals out of trees. The same action, if perpetrated against a domestic cat, would have authorities investigating the culprits for animal cruelty.
What is so frustrating about the situation is the fact that in Florida, which has a similar situation--small lion population and confined and restricting habitat--the animals are nurtured and protected by Federal law.
By playing fast and loose with the facts, the state game agencies and commissions which should be looking out for the welfare of these magnificent creatures are instead doing their best to prove that the system which governs our nation's wildlife resources has been hijacked by special interest groups more intent on maintaining their privileges rather than governing for the good of all. Let's hope their days as decision makers are numbered and that true natural resource reform is not too far in the future.