Three mountain lions shot dead because they were scavenging on a human corpse

The report in The Times newspaper is clear. A mother mountain lion and her two offspring were not suspected of killing the person that they were eating but nonetheless all three were shot dead because Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) decided that they posed a risk to people as they showed no fear of their responding officers.

Pima Canyon Trail where three mountain lions were shot because they were scavenging on a human corpse
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Photo in public domain – words added.

This is despite the fact that attacks by mountain lions are extremely rare and that there have been fewer than 20 such fatalities in the past century in America.

How did they make this fatal decision? It seems to me that they were too eager to shoot and kill. I have always argued that employees of wildlife services in America are really poachers turned gamekeepers and sport hunting is in their blood to the extent that they will find a reason to kill rather than find more humane alternatives. Altough they tried to trap the animals. Why not leave them alone and close the trail for a while? Or is that a bad idea?

They were shot near the popular Pima Canyon trail in the Coronado National Forest park. Perhaps the corpse was that of a trekker who sadly passed while doing something they loved. They are yet to identify the person. AGFD said that mountain lions rarely scavenge and that it is abnormal behaviour to eat human remains. Yes, I agree but that is because human remains are exceeding rare out in the open. AGFD argued that mountain lions who do this are more likely to attack a human in the future. Yes, but the risk level increases from 0.001% to 0.002%. Big deal. The risk is still almost infinitesimal.

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More than 2,000 mountain lions live in the wilds of Arizona we are told. They normally feed on deer and wild hogs and other smaller prey items.

They are preserving the shot mountain lions for possible evidence and they are carrying out a post-mortem examination of the deceased person.

Note: this is an opinion article on a news item that interests me. Fifty kilograms, the estimated weight of each of these cougars, is 110 pounds.


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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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1 Response

  1. Albert Schepis says:

    I understand it’s painful to see something like that, but f I couldn’t scare or lure them off to collect the body, I would have walked away and left them alone to come back later for what remains. No harm, no foul, no more gratuitous killing. I keep in mind what we as a species already do to other life on the planet and it’s all on balance. We all do what we can to survive, and when it’s over, it’s over, stop compounding it in the name of a spiritual concept they have no interest in, obligation to or logical, pragmatic upside to.

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