Colorado Sued Over Plan To Kill Bears, Mountain Lions

January 20, 2017
Photo: Black bear in tree
A black bear cub.

An environmental group is suing the state over a controversial plan to kill mule deer predators in Colorado.

Wild Earth Guardians filed suit this week over a plan approved by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission in December to kill mountain lions and bears. CPW says there are about 450,000 mule deer in the state; the agency wants there to be about 560,000 statewide.

Crews will kill up to 15 mountain lions and 25 black bears each year in the Piceance Basin on the Western Slope, according to agency documents.

Wildlife Program Director Bethany Cotton said part of the plan violates a constitutional amendment that restricts how wild animals are trapped in the state.

“Our case alleges that the agency is violating its own regulations, state law and the Colorado state constitution because it allows for trapping of these animals," Cotton said.

Cotton said the science driving the plan to increase the state's mule deer herd is not scientifically sound.  CPW said it hasn't seen the lawsuit yet and does not typically comment on matters related to ongoing litigation.

But in September, CPW responded to concerns from WildEarth Guardians in a letter. In addition, the agency said the most likely factor limiting population growth is predation.