The Magnificent Mountain Lion
Here in South Dakota, we have a Mountain Lion Season. It began in 2005. Game, Fish and Parks (hereafter GF&P) decided the lion population was getting to large, and beginning to pose a threat to humans, their pets and livestock...read greed.
When they first started this, they started the season to early and females with very young kittens were being killed. This caused a huge public outcry and forced them to go out and search for the kittens before they could die. So they changed the start of the season to a later time, when kittens would be older and better able to survive on their own. Hunters don't care what age Mountain Lion they bag, so long as they get their lion...Lions as young as five months old have been killed.
So why do we really need to kill the lions? According to GF&P's, they pose a threat. They come into the city limits of Rapid City, eat small pets, threaten people, eat livestock, etc. A private group did a test on over fifty stomachs of lions that had been killed one season...Not one single stomach held livestock...they all held deer and other wild game. As for Lions getting to close to residents of Rapid City and eating small pets...You can't exactly blame the lions, people are encroaching upon their territory all the time, what was their backyard yesterday is some humans backyard today. They do not know that small animal is your pet...It is a small animal easy to catch, fair game to them. If you live in a place where predators of any kind are known to be, it is your responsibility to keep your pets safe, not let them out unsupervised. And I don't understand why when a lion is discovered within city limits, they cannot be tranquilized and relocated instead of shot and killed. One lion was shot and killed upon discovery simply because it was seen sitting in a backyard...It had not threatened anyone or killed anything.
I live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, about ninety miles from Rapid City. Here, we don't believe in killing wild animals for sport or because they come to close to us. The first time I learned that is when I heard that a Mountain Lion had been spotted about a mile away and headed in our direction. I was concerned because the local rancher had his cattle pastured here and it was calving season, so I was concerned for the calves as well as for the Lion. I asked if the Lion would be shot, and was told no, not unless it was actually caught killing calves. I was relieved to hear that. Believe it or not, most Lions prefer deer to livestock. As for being a threat to humans, as you can see in the video above, if you respect them and don't run from them they won't attack. When a jogger is attacked, it is because they are running, they look like prey. The Lion in the video even had a kitten and still did not attack.
The Mountain Lion is a needed predator. The deer populations are already out of control. They too are running through the city streets, causing accidents, eating gardens. Man started killing the deers natural predators because they did not want competition, they wanted the deer for themselves, now the deer are to many. The other day my friend was driving and saw in a pasture along the road a Mountain lion and a few feet away a couple of cows, they were staring at each other. When she returned that way again, no Lion and no cows. If the lion had killed there would have been some sign of it. There are so many deer and Lions are superb hunters, they have no need to kill cattle.
I do believe a Lion should be shot and killed if it attacks a human. But if it kills livestock, why can't it be relocated to a place where there are plenty of deer and no livestock? One year I had my whole flock of chickens wiped out by a young badger. I caught the badger and asked GF&P (on the rez) to relocate it to a prairie dog town where no humans lived so it could be near its natural prey and not be a threat to humans animals. They were happy to comply. We don't have to kill everything...There are other solutions if we are just willing to find them.