Colorado wildlife commissioners embrace predator control experiment to kill more lions, bears to save deer

Bruce Finley | The Denver Post
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Colorado Parks and Wildlife photo

FORT COLLINS – Colorado wildlife commissioners on Wednesday voted to proceed with a controversial predator control experiment to euthanize mountain lions and bears to try to revive the state’s dwindling population of deer.

Their decision after more than a year of deliberation and delay ignited opposition from the Humane Society and other wildlife conservation groups that contend killing more lions and bears would be costly and ineffective.

Wildlife biologists from Colorado State University and elsewhere told commissioners loss and degradation of once-vast deer habitat, development, limited food and other human-induced disturbances – not predators – are primarily to blame for the decline of deer.

They voted unanimously after hearing testimony from more than 40 residents who mostly rejected the CPW proposal.

State wildlife officials have declined to discuss their proposal directly. CPW hired a facilitator to run three public meetings, where about 99 participants were skeptical or opposed to the killing. CPW agency spokespeople declined to respond to questions or make officials available, referring to anonymously pre-written electronic blurbs about the predator control, which is expected to cost $4.5 million.

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