Mountain Cats Trust
(Original Art Work by Andi Pindel, Wheatland WY)
Financial Support for Mountain Lion Issues
Cougar Related Public Education
Actions to Date
(By Tom Huhnerkoch DVM,RN)
Prior to the unwarranted Mountain Lion Hunting Season begun here in South Dakota in 2005, I set up this 501c3 organization in hopes of raising funds and making a difference as a Cougar advocate. Our goal is simply to educate the Public about the Puma concolor, try to make sensible and correct recommendations to the State game agency and to support our Agenda which states: "To assure that the Future for your grandchildren is full of the Wonders and the Mysteries that you and I have had the privilege to experience". Our endeavors begin in 1999 when HB 1040 started the gradual and calculated erosion of the status of the SD cougar. In 2003, after the only and initial Study of the SD Mountain Lions, this Great Cat was "delisted" from being State Threatened since 1978, and was labled "big game". Just two short years later, in 2005 SD held it's first ever Mountain Lion Hunting Season. Although this action was opposed by a majority of citizens, was Petitioned against and eventually landed in court, the result of a Law Suit filed and lost by the Mountain Lion Foundation of California and the Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation, the hunt was held a couple days later. Similar "hunts" have since been held annually with ever increasing kill quotas. Both total and female subquotas have been increased each year as has the "official population estimate". As of spring 2008, the reported cougar population has risen from a meager 152 cats (Dr.Dorothy Fecske's Thesis, 2003) to 250 (plus or minus 30 cats). We feel in a State with a population in excess of 800,000 and a land mass of over 74,000 sq miles, such low numbers are finite and negligible and present no actual problem, threat nor justifable reason for a general hunting season. These hunts are further suspect, since in the States history, no lion attacks on humans have ever been "verified".