Montana governor Greg Gianforte is facing a backlash after killing a mountain lion that was being monitored by park rangers. The mountain lion, according to prior reports, was wearing a collar that had been placed on it by employees. As more information about the incident becomes available, animal activists have expressed their displeasure with the governor’s recent actions.
Gianforte and a few companions went hound hunting on December 28. In Montana, Gianforte has the required permits to hunt mountain lions and utilized legal methods. Brooke Stroyke, Gianforte’s press secretary, confirmed this information in an email to the Post.
In a statement, Stroyke stated, “The governor and companions tracked the lion on public property.” “As the group got closer to the lion, members of the group, who have a hound training license, used four hounds to tree the lion once the track was discovered in a creek bottom on public land.”
The first point people took issue with was that the hunt occurred on public US Forest Service land located southwest of Emigrant, Montana. The second problem arose after Gianforte “harvested it, and put his tag on” the mountain lion when it was clear that the animal had a collar.
“He immediately called to report the legal harvest and then the [Montana fish, wildlife and parks] game warden. In Livingston, the governor met the game warden who tagged the lion and took the collar,” Stoyle said.
The mountain lion was a part of the Yellowstone Park staff’s studies. Park biologists had been monitoring the five-year-old cat via GPS collar and knew the animal as “M220.”
Conservationalists Respond to Montana Governor’s Actions
It’s possible that the backlash surrounding the issue in Montana would be less severe if this had been the governor’s first instance of hunting a collared animal. In February 2021, Gianforte killed a collared wolf just ten miles outside of Yellowstone. Just like the mountain lion he shot in December, the park staff was monitoring the animal using a GPS collar, this one known as 1155.
Unlike his latest controversial hunt, though, Gianforte did not have proper permission to hunt the wolf. According to The Guardian, the Montana governor failed to complete a mandatory class on trapping beforehand.
Following the reports of Gianforte’s activities, conservationists have expressed their frustrations with Gianforte’s recent hunting records.
“The consequences are severe for wolves,” Dan Wenk, Yellowstone’s superintendent from 2011 to 2019, stated.
Also notable is the fact that Gianforte has recently passed several controversial laws regarding wolf hunting in recent months. Just last year, the Montana governor passed an ordinance that pushed for a decrease in the state’s wolf population. The ordinance also opened up the region just outside of Yellowstone’s boundaries to wolf hunters.
As a result, hunters have killed a record 25 wolves from Yellowstone, 19 of which were in Montana.
This article by Amy Myers was first published by The Outsider on 2 March 2022.
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