Save the desert-dwelling Yuma Puma from trophy hunters now!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to begin trophy hunting of mountain lions in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in western Arizona.

The Fish and Wildlife Service, cooperating with the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, proposes to permit the killing of one cougar per year on the Refuge or elsewhere in the region where cougar hunting is already permitted. Only five cougars are known to live on the Refuge—including a mother and two kittens. The agencies acknowledge that if the breeding female is killed her kittens might die also. Please tell the Service to back off from this reckless course and not allow this inaugural mountain lion hunt on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.

These five animals constitute a significant portion -- perhaps a majority -- of the widely scattered mountain lions living throughout western Arizona.

Cougars in this region have adapted to extreme heat and aridity. These hardy survivors probably maintain home ranges several times greater in size than cougars elsewhere in order to find enough prey. With so few cougars in the desert and no reliable population count, until now the various national wildlife refuges in Arizona have not allowed hunting of these lofty predators.

Cougars in western Arizona are threatened by loss of habitat, government predator control, permitted hunting, poaching, and vehicular collisions. Cougars in this desert are also increasingly cut off from genetic interchange with cougars in the mountains of central and eastern Arizona and the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. To the extent they survive and reproduce, they may also serve as part of a cougar corridor between these widely separated mountain ranges.

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