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Hunting Lions: Sport Or Murder? Essay

1177 words - 5 pages

When a Minnesota dentist killed a prized African lion named "Cecil" he received an onslaught of criticism and reignited the debate concerning hunting. Man's quest to dominate all of nature has been a passion dating to the primitive days of mankind. During this primitive era, man's need to hunt was strictly for survival and to preserve their existence and dominance over the wild. In this modern era, man still finds the need to unleash this internal drive for power. The passion to hunt, however, is no longer a necessity for survival; it is a game or sport for which the trophy is one of nature's most intriguing animals, the mountain lion.

Yellowstone national park is one of the few places that have been "blessed with carnivore diversity." When the park was established in 1872, mountain lions freely roamed the park and were to be regulated. In the early 1900's, it was federal policy to kill large predators to protect game, such as elk, in the park (3). Coincidentally between 1916 and 1971 more than 12,000 mountain lions were killed for bounties and for sport in California. The estimated number of cougars had diminished to a range from 600-2,000 (2). At this time Governor Ronald Reagan began to understand the necessity to protect these cougars from extinction. In 1971 a moratorium was signed against the trophy hunting of these cats (5). By the 70's the lions had returned to the park and gradually their numbers reached a stable quantity.

Nearly two decades later the mountain lion once again faces the wrath of man's desire for the sport of hunting. With California's mountain lion population at nearly 5,000, the passing for proposition 117 ensured the safety of these heavenly creatures (3). Prop 117 permanently bans the trophy hunting of mountain lions. The lion is now the only form of wildlife that is protected by the state of California that is neither threatened or endangered (6). The National Rifle Association seeks to lift this moratorium and allow the hunt of the cats. Their effort would carry into the year 1996 where they sought for the passing of proposition 197 which would legalize the trophy hunting of the cougars. However their efforts as well as the proposition failed to change the fate of the lions (5).

Recent media has displayed the mountain lion as being a fierce creature with a history of unprovoked attacks. However what is failed to be conveyed to the public is the fact that the human population is doubling every 25 years. With the climbing cougar and human populations, an increased competition of food has sent hungry mountain lions to suburban backyards in an effort to seek nourishment (4). By doing so the number of lion attacks on humans has elevated. The fact that these lions are losing their habitats to human developers, raises the question of whether lions pose a threat to humans or not.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has fought for the rights to lawfully hunt the mountain lion. Their efforts would be for the "good...

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