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Science backs protecting lions

Science backs protecting lions

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In “Prizzi’s Honor,” a dark comedy starring Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner, Charlie (Nicholson) is a hit man who becomes infatuated with the beautiful Irene (Turner). Jack soon learns she is also an accomplished assassin. Stunned, Charlie asks how many “hits” she has done. “Three to four a year,” she casually responds but adds, “it's not many when you consider the size of the population.”

Fortunately, credible scientific research, along with a rich legal and moral tradition, provides an alternative perspective. Contrary to David Wolf’s recent commentary, “Anti-lion Hunting Initiative Makes No Scientific Sense,” the same can be said for mountain lions.

Mountain lions are social creatures with distinct gender roles. Credible scientific evidence reveals that older males who have learned to avoid causing trouble with humans, also generally keep the younger trouble-makers away, reducing conflicts with livestock and the rare encounter with humans.

Mountain lions are hunted, not for food, but for trophy, that is either for fun or to display of body parts as a rug or wall ornament. Recent research demonstrates that twenty-four percent of Arizona’s population enjoys wildlife watching. Only three percent hunt.

Arizonans for Wildlife’s current effort promoting a 2018 election initiative to eliminate hunting bobcats, mountain lions and other big wild cats reflects the preferences and values of most citizens interested in wildlife.

Contradicting David Wolf’s commentary, science as well as citizen’s legitimate concerns makes supporting the protection of Arizona’s wild big cats all the sense in the world.

KIM CRUMBO

Flagstaff

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