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American Lion Campaign

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Arizona Docent, 18 Jun 2013.

  1. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    I was at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum this morning to get more photos of the new young puma. (These will be posted tonight). But it was excellent timing because I met a young brother-sister pair from Georgia who were there to film the puma. They have formed the American Lion Campaign. They are trying to make the mountain lion the officially recognized "national cat" (with a status similar to our national bird the bald eagle). They are driving across the country filming mountain lions in zoos as well as wild mountain lion habitat (yesterday they were at the Grand Canyon). This will be turned into a documentary. In a little while I am meeting them at the UA to meet a doctoral student I know who is getting his PhD in mountain lion genetics.

    Anyway, here is their site. Follow their adventures and, if you live in the USA, sign the petition to get the mountain lion officially recognized!

    American Lion Campaign | Making the Mountain Lion America's National Cat
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    why "American lion"? That's kind of confusing. I thought from the thread title it was going to be about either Panthera leo atrox, or about a campaign to try and "reintroduce" modern lions into the USA (as in the rewilding scenario).

    Whatever happened to cougar and puma anyway?
     
  3. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    My questions is, why do we need a national cat? We only have 3 species of cats that live in the US anyway (Puma, Bobcat, and Canadian Lynx, disregarding vagrant Jaguars and a tiny population of Ocelots).
     
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Plus feral cat and there's supposedly jaguarundi in Florida. Are there still margays in or vagrant to the US?
     
  5. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    When I talked to some ocelot researchers, they told me that there is no confirmation of any Jaguarundi in the US. Margay haven't been seen in years.
     
  6. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    As to "why," part of their goal is to get the mountain lion managed on a federal level, instead of state by state (where, in Texas for example, they are still considered varmints and can be shot on sight).
     
  7. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Good sound reason. That I can get on board with, congress won't, but I can.
     
  8. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    To get Congress to consider it, they need 100,000 petition signatures. So far they only have 700. So it is a long battle...

    I am looking forward to the documentary, which they hope to release next spring via DVD and YouTube. (A mainstream televsion channel would be a dream come true, but realistically may not happen). A little while ago I was with them at the U of A and they did some nice on camera interviews with two doctoral students in mountain lion genetics and then with me.
     
  9. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    I imagine California wouldn't want Federal Management of the Mountain Lion if the management practices of neighboring states were adopted as the standard. Commercial interest Florida might, if Managing all Cougars as a single sub-species removed the ESA protections from the Florida Panther. Texas, however, is long overdue for sensible, scientific management of its Cougars though. Right now landowner whims and a few conservation areas are all the protections the cats have; despite this they do continue to hold on.
     
  10. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    The management practices of neighboring states (including here in Arizona) is that it is a big game animal that can be (sustainably) hunted in season with a license from Game and Fish. The management practice of California, which voters approved many years ago (myself included when I lived there), is that game hunting of pumas is no longer allowed and they can only be killed by state officials if people or property (e.g. sheep from a sheep farmer) are imminitely threatened. However I read a while ago - it may still be true - that under this scheme California actually shoots more mountain lions annually than they did when they issued game hunting permits. So the alleged protection is in fact not really there, so it may behoove them to adopt the practices of neighboring states.
     
  11. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    I believe you are right regarding State Wildlife Officials killing significant numbers of Cougars. I think anti-hunting interests prefer that to opening California Cougars to management as Game. A year or so ago I remember reading that a senior State Game Manager in California was forced out of office because he participated in a legal hunt in Idaho. For political reasons California (and it's voters) probably would not accept any Federal Management that allowed Sport Hunting of the cats. The rest of the West wouldn't (yet) accept Federal Management that prohibited hunting. Until the Rio Grande or Pecos Cougars are recognized as an endangered sub-species subject to ESA protections...Etc...I just can't see the Cougar being managed on a Federal Level. A really well done documentary on the Cultural and Natural History of America's Lion (including the post-predator management and impressive recovery of the Species) would be a worthy pursuit though.
     
    Last edited: 19 Jun 2013
  12. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    All the pumas in North America (including the so-called florida panther) are a single subspecies (one of six now recognized subspecies). This listing is due in large part to genetic research performed right here at the University of Arizona (about a mile from my condo), headed by Dr Melanie Culver. Before the interviews at UA yesterday, we got a quick tour of the lab and met a few people working there when we stopped in. A guy from Mexico with vials of blood or tissue from several octupus. A gal pulling apart old jaguar scat from Paraguay. Another guy with fresh scat from (I think) desert tortoise. Interesting stuff.