On Friday, March 17th, Governor Cox ignored Utahns united voices of sportsmen, houndsmen, wildlife biologists, conservationists, and advocates and signed HB 469 into law. Mountain lions will now be able to be hunted and trapped in Utah year around. We're in the process of discussing next steps for our lions. Truly a sad day. Thank you so much to everyone who contacted the Governor! The fight isn't over. We'll keep y'all posted. 🙏
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION EMERGENCY
Utah’s cougars are in danger of losing their protected wildlife status this week under House Bill 469! This bill will remove management and protection of cougars from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and allow them to be hunted and trapped year round without regulation. This bill was introduced and passed in the senate without any notice or opportunity for public comment. Utahns—this is YOUR wildlife held in YOUR trust under the North American Model of Wildlife Management! Current wildlife management plans involve voices of stakeholders representing a broad array of special interest groups. This bill’s lack of inclusion of public input is both deceptive and unethical. Elected officials have a duty to serve those they represent, including seeking the input of the people they represent. Elected officials are not seasoned researchers. They owe Utahns the courtesy to consult those who have scientific experience, including seasoned biologists within the Utah DWR and experts in wildlife academia.
So, what can we do??
Reach out to Utah’s Governor, Spencer Cox TODAY! Call 801-538-1000 or leave a comment at https://cs.utah.gov/s/submit and voice your concerns with wildlife experts and public comment being excluded in the presentation and passing of HB469.
Voice your concerns in a firm but not aggressive manner. Support your concerns with data, science, and proper wildlife management strategies.
Below are some talking points you can include when you contact Gov. Cox:
These last minute changes were made to this bill to take management of cougars away from the DWR with no notice or opportunity for the public to comment. This is a deceptive and unethical practice given that wildlife is held in the public trust.
That wildlife studies in our state are being noticed and recognized on the world conservation stage and speaks volumes to the work being done and even more about the researchers.
Wildlife management decisions should include the Division of Wildlife Resources biologists and should not be based on personal opinions or biases.
Avoid moving our state in a backwards direction and allowing this change to proceed in HB469. More dialogue needs to happen before this amendment is considered. Please leave wildlife management decisions to wildlife biologists. You are undermining their education, research, and knowledge by passing this law.
From a government agency perspective, why have RAC meetings, form wildlife committees, fund research, and appoint a wildlife board, if one lawmaker can at the last minute alter a bill with changes not once brought for consideration before these committees and/or at these meetings?
An elected lawmaker deceitfully made this last-minute change without taking any public or professional comments on the matter. This is an abuse of power on the part of any elected official.
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