For Immediate Release, October 20, 2015
Gov. Inslee Cancels Increase in Cougar Hunting
Decision Reverses Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission's Approval of
Dramatic Increase in Hunting Quota
OLYMPIA, Wash.— Gov. Jay Inslee has granted an administrative appeal filed by eight wildlife-protection organizations and a wildlife research scientist to return cougar-hunting quotas to scientifically justifiable levels. The governor’s decision on Monday reverses the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission’s vote — without prior notice to the public — to raise cougar quotas by 50 percent to 100 percent in areas of Washington also inhabited by wolves.
“This is a victory for Washington’s cougars, sound science and open government,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups that filed the successful appeal. “The Fish and Wildlife Commission decided to kill more cougars after ignoring the public and its own scientists. Its knee-jerk decision needed to be reversed, and we’re overjoyed that the governor agreed with us.”
On June 30 wildlife advocates filed a formal petition asking the Fish and Wildlife Commission to reverse its controversial decision to increase cougar-hunting quotas. After the commission denied their petition, the groups filed an appeal to the governor.
The successful appeal explains that the commission violated state law aimed at ensuring open government by finalizing a rule setting cougar-hunting quotas at a level dramatically different from what was offered to the public for comment. The commission’s decision also ignored a 13-year, Washington-based scientific study that cost taxpayers approximately $5 million. The study showed that killing cougars at such high levels might exacerbate conflicts with people and livestock and would do nothing to prevent future cougar attacks or make people safer.
“The public’s trust in wildlife management has been restored because of Governor Inslee’s commitment towards transparency and valuing the stability of our cougar population,” said Dan Paul, Washington state director for The Humane Society of the United States.
The successful appeal was filed by The Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity, Mountain Lion Foundation, Wolf Haven International, The Cougar Fund, The Lands Council, Predator Defense, Kettle Range Conservation Group and Gary Koehler, Ph.D., a former research scientist with the Washington Department of Fish and Game.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.