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LETTER: Wildlife officials kill mountain lion in west Las Vegas

It was a sad day to wake up to the news of a euthanized mountain lion in a Las Vegas neighborhood (Tuesday Review-Journal). I empathize that it was a complicated situation. After the cat was discovered, there was an attempt to tranquilize him that didn’t work. The cat ended up in a tree in a neighborhood a mile away.

The home inhabitants had dogs and it’s thought these dogs chased the cat up a tree. At that point, the cat was shot and killed. Why wasn’t there a second attempt to tranquilize the cat? He was in a tree, thus somewhat controlled.

The questions I have for the Nevada Department of Wildlife: If the cat was theoretically trapped in a tree, why was it shot? Could there not be another solution? What decisions are made in the euthanization of an animal? What plans are in place should this happen again in the future?

Mountain lions have been a part of the Nevada wildlife fabric for centuries and deserve more consideration. This lion was a young male, probably vying for territory. I wish he had been given more respect and thought. He was tagged, so he had been in neighborhoods before. I understand that. However, he historically hadn’t tried to attack humans or pets, and the young cat was simply on the run, most likely terrified. There are other solutions that don’t involve death.

I propose we put a team together to handle these situations and evaluate them more closely. Why can’t we assemble a team of wildlife behavioral experts that can make decisions on the scene? What cat expert was there? Is his life that much less valuable than humans? There are 2 million humans here in Las Vegas and only a handful of lions. If we keep this up there will be no lions.

— The writer is publisher of The Wild Lens Wildlife Magazine.

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