Nebraska’s Proposed Puma Hunt Threatens the Species’ Eastward Expansion

Ridiculously, the state of Nebraska wants to open a hunt on its estimated 59 pumas. Attention Grabber by Valerie. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Pumas (AKA mountain lions, cougars, and Puma concolor) are adaptable cats that live throughout western North America and much of South America. But a large part of their range has been lost. Pumas have been extirpated from the eastern two-thirds of North America, largely due to indiscriminate hunting and targeted extermination efforts by the United States government.

Thanks to more responsible management practices in the western US since 1965, pumas are beginning to recolonize some of their former range. They are slowly moving east, with small breeding populations now present in states like Nebraska. But their recovery in that state is threatened by a senseless hunting proposal.

Nebraska’s Game and Parks Commission wants to allow 20 percent of its Pine Ridge puma population, which numbers only 59 individuals, to be killed. This reckless proposal has recently been condemned by Dr. Mark Elbroch of Panthera, a well-respected NGO that is dedicated to the conservation of the earth’s wild cat species.

As Dr. Elbroch writes, Nebraska’s puma population is too small for sport hunting. Permitting this ridiculous hunt could halt the cats’ eastward expansion, and create more conflict with people. He also emphasized that 30 percent of most puma populations are kittens. This means that out of Pine Ridge’s 59 individuals, only 40 of those are likely to be adults.

Nebraska’s proposed hunt has no basis in science – or in fact any form of sense. Dr. Elbroch has requested that members of the public send emails to Sheri Henderson, the Secretary to the Director of Nebraska Game and Parks, in opposition to this hunt. In addition, the Mountain Lion Foundation has provided a suggested message that big cat advocates can send.

Unfortunately, Dr. Elbroch has stressed that emails should be sent by tomorrow, June 21, to have the most impact. So please, if you can manage, send an email today to Sheri Henderson to voice your opposition to Nebraska’s proposed puma hunt.

Click Here for Dr. Elbroch’s Original Post

16 Thoughts

    1. This hunt is indeed senseless. In general, there is no need to hunt predators: they have evolved mechanisms for maintaining their own populations at healthy levels. The problem is that many people in the US are still heavily biased against predators.

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    1. There’s a lot of fear and hatred towards predatory animals in the US, and as soon as they show up people want to kill them. People dramatically overestimate how dangerous they are, and don’t understand how important these animals are for maintaining healthy ecosystems. As one of the previous commenters pointed out, masculinity also plays a role. Somehow, killing an animal with a high-powered rifle and a team of highly-trained dogs makes one more ‘manly.’ Social identity can also be a contributing factor: some people hate predators because doing so is an important part of their culture.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Why would anyone even hate such graceful and beautiful animals.
        I’ve heard about that masculinity crap, back in kenya we have the maasai tribe who kill male lions as a way to prove that they are some sort of warriors. ( Morans )
        Personally, I think it’s the dumbest idea ever, how does killing an innocent animal even prove your a real man.
        Like seriously, people need a reality check and to understand the chain of life. ( the food chain )
        Gunning down or spearing an innocent animal that was minding it’s own business, doesn’t prove anything.
        Culture huh ! what century do they live in…
        so why don’t they make tribal noises as a way to communicate since it was also part of culture, but they have conveniently adopted the use of cell phones.
        So all these excuses about ”my culture” says this or that is a lie and a farce.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It can certainly be frustrating, and the reasons why people choose to kill animals like pumas are deeper and more varied than we can discuss here. Fortunately, there’s a fair amount that’s been written about these topics. Amy Dickman is a good person to look up, as is Silvio Marchini.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Wow it’s great to hear from someone who actually grew up with influences from the Maasai tribe. I think you bring up a great point. It would be so manly (to me) to see someone be able to rescue or defend a rare wild cat as opposed to put a whole population at risk.

          Also, isn’t it ironic that the head of the Game and Parks Commission wants to kill off wild animals…it’s like people in the EPA saying lead in drinking water isn’t bad for children. Why do these kinds of people get put in positions of power…it’s a mystery to me.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. ( Growing up with the Maasai tribe influence ) I wouldn’t put it that way but more like I’ve known a few individuals from that tribe and I learnt more about their culture from them.

            Amen to that, I too think that would be the more manlier thing to do *rescue or defend a rare wild cat *

            More Conservation measures, need to me put in place now, rather than awakening to a rude shock of having lost a specie.

            It’s very ironic, I’ve tried to wrap my head around the whole situation and honestly I get to a point where I just can’t deal anymore.

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