No doubt these are dark days. I hear from so many readers who feel powerless to make positive change given the current political climate. Who wonder “Why try at all?” I too admit to feeling discouraged more often than I would like. To combat hopelessness, I search for reasons to be hopeful. This reason showed up in a press release from Project Coyote which explained how the Arizona Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) approved on September 4 a rule banning wildlife killing contests for predatory and furbearing species. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) had passed the initial rule unanimously in June. No more barbaric wildlife killing contests!
This GRRC ruling is the result of a powerful coalition of concerned citizens and wildlife conservation organizations and scientists working tirelessly and together. Individuals and organizations submitted thousands of comments asking the Commission to prohibit wildlife killing contests. Over 70 conservation scientists signed a statement condemning wildlife killing contests on ecological and ethical grounds.
“We have been working on this campaign for quite some time and it is an incredible feeling to be here today and have the ban put into place by the AZGFD and the GRRC. It is also heartening to know and experience first-hand the power of your own voice,” said Betsy Klein, I AM WOLF NATION’s Executive Director. “Our work is not over,” she added, “as we will be watching closely for killing contests, apprising AZGFD of them and making sure the rule is enforced. If the rule is circumvented, we will be sure everyone knows so the rule is strengthened when it is reviewed in 2021.”
Matt Francis, Arizona Program Associate for Project Coyote, reminds us that positive change can take a very long time: “The effort to outlaw these cruel and senseless contests began back in 1998, and today the state honored the people’s concerns. We hope the intent of the rule will be followed and that the scar of killing contests will fade into the past.”
My deepest thanks go to everyone involved in this wonderful effort. Thank you for saving hundreds of coyotes, bobcats, cougars, foxes and other species from senseless death.
And thank you for giving all of us a reason to be hopeful that we too can help create positive change for wildlife and wild lands.
Award-winning Indie author Rick Lamplugh writes, speaks, and photographs to protect wildlife and wild lands. His bestselling In the Temple of Wolves and the award-winning sequel, Deep into Yellowstone, are available signed from Rick or unsigned on Amazon.
Rick's new book, The Wilds of Aging, is the prequel to In the Temple of Wolves and is available signed or on Amazon.
Coyote photo by Rick Lamplugh