Prevent the Needless Euthanasia of Wild Animals in Colorado
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In order to support dwindling deer populations, the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife has given the green light to a pilot study in which predatory animals, such as mountain lions and bears, will be selectively euthanized. The basic rationale for this is that by killing predatory animals, deer populations will increase. This is important to the department, not from an ecological standpoint, but because hunting licenses are a primary source of their revenue. In their own words, “We rarely address the ‘should’ question. We primarily address the ‘how.'”
Experts in the arena of wildlife ecology from Colorado State University, who have "extensively studied predator ecology," have cast significant doubt on the efficacy of the departments approach, stating "plans to test the effects of predator removal are not based on science, and run counter to prior scientific evidence published by CPW’s own researchers."
Other groups, such as the National Wildlife Federation, a hunting and conservation group, and the Humane Society of the United States, point out that it is not predators, but overdevelopment,that has caused significant drops in deer population. Even so, the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife "hasn’t taken a position on a federal Bureau of Land Management plan to allow up to 15,000 new oil and gas wells on prime deer habitat in northwestern Colorado." Without addressing the myriad of issues surrounding destruction of habitat, the department can not, in good faith, embark on a potentially destructive strategy without any evidence to support their assertion that this will increase deer populations.
This proposal is strongly opposed by experts, is myopic, cruel, and clearly involves the self interest of the department. It is not supported by science. It should thus be rejected, and resources should be placed into protecting habitat. The Department, and leaders in Colorado government who find this proposal palatable, might take a moment to consider the "should question," in depth.
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