Cats Aren’t Trophies Will Attend CPW Mountain Lion Public Discussion in Golden Monday, Feb. 26

There’s no good reason to support the unethical, unsporting and cruel recreational killing of lions that have not caused harm to anyone, citizens say

Colorado — Cats Aren’t Trophies (CATs) announced today that its supporters who want to halt the cruel and unwarranted trophy hunting of mountain lions will be attending the Monday Feb. 26 Colorado Parks and Wildlife meeting in Golden to discuss the future of native and ecologically valuable mountain lions of Colorado.

CATs coalition members and supporters will be wearing CATs T-shirts and will be available for interviews.

“It’s disappointing that CPW has only specifically called out to “hunters, outfitters, farmers, ranchers and landowners” to attend what are public meetings for all citizens,” says Sam Bruegger, campaign director for the CATs initiative “Wildlife is not private property and our agency also serves Coloradans who know it’s ethically wrong to send packs of dogs wearing tracking collars into our forests to terrorize and tree a cat that has done nothing wrong. There is no good reason to allow a tiny minority of lion trophy hunters to step up and shoot our valuable lions as if they are at a carnival, with the prize being the head and hide.”

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, sport killing unoffending mountain lions is only defined officially as a “wildlife-related recreational opportunity” as specified in state statutes.

CPW is a “science-based” agency that bears the responsibility to offer evidence to the public for any claim that recreational shooting of unoffending lions is “management” that benefits wildlife or the broader public. 

There is no evidence in the vast scientific literature of 50 years to claim that sport or recreational shooting of mountain lions is an effective way to make more deer, to reduce or prevent conflict with livestock, pets or humans, or for public safety. The choice to allow for sport hunting of lions remains based on ethical choice alone.

Most recently, CPW has concluded its highly controversial $4 million Piceance study of killing half the mountain lion population to study impacts on dwindling mule deer herds between Leadville and Salida. This study reportedly failed to support CPW’s claim that killing mountain lions would increase deer herds of Colorado. The data with total financial costs to taxpayers and total number of lions killed has still not been released to the public.

Research across the West shows that killing predators in large numbers at great cost to wildlife and taxpayers, and great expense of time to agency staff, never leads to any benefits for the public, nor does it lead to stable, sustainable wildlife populations. Please contact CATs for interviews from lion ecologists and links to the data.

Lion body count:

More than 450 mountain lions have been killed for sport this season that ends in March.

CPW has no way to ensure lion trophy hunters have not and will not kill mothers, leaving kittens unprotected.

“Recent research in Colorado and elsewhere shows mountain lion kittens can go 12 days or more before seeing their mother return,” explains CPW biologist Kevin Blecha.

Which means that there will be no kitten prints in the snow when a mother is pursued by a lion trophy hunter.

Trophy hunters are also not required to check females to see if they are lactating, before shooting one.

Nearly half – 43.9% — lions killed this season are females, which means there is no doubt that kittens have been and are being orphaned, because every female lion will be pregnant or have dependent young during 75% of their lifetime, CPW reports. Young lions remain close to their mothers for up to two years, to learn necessary skills to survive.

Orphaned kittens  face a 4% chance of survival, according to CPW, and will die of starvation. Last year, there were multiple reports of kittens found without presence of a mother in Colorado, according to CPW.

Cats Aren’t Trophies (CATs) is a diverse and broad coalition of citizens, endorsed by 70 organizations including The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Colorado Sierra Club and multiple Audubon Societies of Colorado to qualify for a ballot initiative to halt inhumane and unsporting trophy hunting of mountain lions and trophy hunting and commercial trapping of bobcats. The measure will also protect the rare Canada lynx from being attacked by hounds or caught in traps set for the similar-looking bobcats. 

Mountain lion kills are continuously updated on the CPW website and is available to the public: website as a comprehensive resource on the campaign to protect Colorado’s native wild cats and to preserve their role in delivering ecological services to Colorado.

CATs is a political committee in Colorado that has succesfully filed 2024 ballot language to ban trophy hunting of mountain lions and fur trapping of bobcats. The measure also protects lynx, who are sometimes mistaken for bobcats and killed.

 CATs believes that trophy hunting of mountain lions and bobcats is cruel and unsporting — a highly commercial, high-tech head-hunting exercise that doesn’t produce edible meat or sound wildlife management outcomes, but only orphaned cubs and social chaos among the surviving big cats.

Sign up to get updates in your inbox

on the citizens' initiative to ban trophy-hunting of mountain lions and trapping of bobcats on the 2024 Colorado ballot