Colorado may euthanize more bears and lions to try to boost dwindling deer numbers |

Colorado may euthanize more bears and lions to try to boost dwindling deer numbers

A mule deer buck creeps along a ridge in east Rifle.
File |

Faced with a rapidly dwindling deer population, Colorado wildlife officials are proposing to kill more mountain lions and black bears — a “predator control” push aimed at saving fawns.

The proposal reflects growing worries about deer, which are crucial for the hunting industry and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) revenues. The statewide population is 110,000 short of the 560,000 deer that wildlife managers deem optimal for the state.

But targeting lions and bears to try to boost deer is highly controversial. The Humane Society of the United States is rallying opposition to predator control, arguing that Colorado’s approach will orphan bear cubs and lion kittens who then would starve, be eaten or die of exposure.

“It won’t work,” Humane Society carnivore protection manager Wendy Keefover said.

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