The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) wants to “adversely condition” mountain lions by shooting them with lead-filled bean bags or by chasing them with hounds in a novel study that it has proposed to Front Range county land managers. The DOW wants to haze lions, said Matt Alldredge, a newly-hired biologist for the DOW, in an attempt to change their behaviors.
Alldrege testified yesterday before Boulder County’s Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee (POSAC).
According to Sinapu, a few citizens, and the majority of POSAC members, the DOW’s proposed study appeared unclear in its purpose, objectives, protocols, and methodologies. Thus it failed to pass muster. POSAC voted 7 to 2 to table the matter until further hearing.
Sinapu felt that the DOW had not considered the unintended consequences of its actions. Mountain lions that are relocated, killed, or hazed from their territories could leave orphaned kittens, or leave vacant home ranges that might attract a younger dispersing lion, which as the literature shows, may more likely to come into conflicts with humans and pets. Download Sinapu’s comments (pdf).
Furthermore, Sinapu raised concerns that fundamental baseline data about Front Range mountain lion populations are not part of the proposed study.
Dave Freddy of the DOW confirmed this worry. He testified that the DOW knows enough about lion populations from other sources, and that obtaining population and natality information specific to Colorado’s Front Range would be redundant and of less importance than its novel lion-hazing plans.
Sinapu firmly believes that baseline population data are necessary in making in wildlife management decisions and that the DOW’s rush to haze cats is without merit because the unintended consequences of such actions have not been fully explicated.
The DOW has an opportunity to fully develop its study plan and re-approach Boulder County. Next week, the DOW will try to get the City of Boulder to also allow the study to move forward on its natural lands. Jefferson County has already approved this study on its open space lands.
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