Wild Cats

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

Genetic researchers trying to save
the highly endangered Florida panther on
April 9 recommended a shift away from cap-
tive breeding, the focus of present recovery
efforts. Instead, the team suggested, closely
related Texas cougars should be released into
panther habitat to diversify the gene pool by
natural means. Under the plan, panther kittens
would no longer be removed from the wild for
use in captive breeding, since their gene pool
is presently so narrow that the offspring would
be likely to inherit genetic defects.

The Texas legislature is considering
a bill, SB 583, to add cougars to the list of
game animals covered by the state Parks and
Wildlife Code. Ironically, this would increase
legal protection for the big cats, who presently
have none, since cougar hunting could then be
restricted and controlled. The bill is bitterly
opposed by ranching interests.
The Mountain Lion Foundation
asks California residents to write to their state
senators and representatives in support of S.B.
380, which would designate bobcats a “spe-
cially protected animal, exempt from hunting
and trapping and subject to lethal anti-preda-
tion measures to protect livestock only if non-
lethal methods have failed. About 70,000 bob-
cats are believed to survive in California;
63,000 have been trapped and shot during the
past ten years.
The Arroyo family, of Santa
Barbara, California, has sued the state and
300 unnamed defendants in connection with
head lacerations suffered by Darrin Arroyo,
age nine, when the family met a puma while
hiking in Gaviota State Park. The unnamed
defendants may include people involved in
passing the 1990 California Wildlife Protection
Act, which banned puma hunting,
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