Friday, July 31, 2009
Kofa refuge lions may be killed again by State of AZ
UPDATE, 8/4: USFWS releases its draft Kofa pumas environmental assessment for 60 day comment period.
UPDATE, 8/3: AZ Daily Star coverage. Contact the AZ Game & Fish Commission and ask them to please extend the moratorium this week and not kill Kofa lion KM04, email email@example.com
OTHER AZ NEWS: See today's update on the GOP's budget debacle, and on-going legislature/budget updates on twitter @RepPatterson.
YUMA AZ -- In the latest twist of an on-going highly controversial issue, the Arizona Game & Fish Dept. moratorium on killing mountain lions on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge expires at midnight tonight.
Conservationists are concerned state bureaucrats may target lion 'KM04' for death as soon as this weekend.
At least two Kofa lions have been unethically killed by AGFD in recent years. The state has trapping and collaring these rare lower Sonoran Desert lions in the name of research, but then using the GPS/radio signal collar to track and kill pumas, as a part of bighorn sheep 'game farm' style management that seems to seek to extirpate lions on and around the refuge.
The on-going ethical problems and predator persecution by AGFD deeply concerns me as an Arizona hunter.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service is working on a lion plan and a draft is due out next week for comment. AGFD should continue to cooperate and respect the legal plan process by committing to killing no lions until the plan is done. Killing research animals unwisely jeopardizes important data and scientific research, and raises moral issues when the killing is in response to natural behavior of the animal.
The AGFD Commission will likely discuss and get public comment on this at its next meeting in Phoenix Aug 7-8. If you cannot make the meeting in person you may watch and testify effectively via video conference at AGFD offices around the state, including Tucson, Yuma and Flagstaff. Arizona's wildlife is your wildlife and these animals need your support to survive.