|Courtesy Google Images|
The President of the California Fish and Game Commission, Dan Richards, whose mandate it is to protect native species, killed a mountain lion in Idaho and posed grinning with the carcass. It has been against the law in California to hunt mountain lions since 1990 so Richards is reported to have paid about $7000 to hunt this cat.
Today, outraged by this behavior, 40 members of the California State Assembly, led by Assembly-member Ben Hueso, called for Richards' resignation in a letter. In addition to expressing their outrage in his exercise of judgment and resultant behavior, the lawmakers went on to say:
"Your actions have raised serious questions about whether you respect the laws of the people of California and whether you are fit to adequately enforce those laws. Without the proper credibility to hold such an important representative position as the one you hold, you can only succeed at one outcome, eroding the public's confidence and trust in their government."
To say the least! The people of California have led and continue to lead the nation in animal protection initiatives. I and many other animal protection advocates have come before the Fish & Game Commission to plead for the lives of bears offered up to hunters, to stop the imports of frogs and turtles that decimate California's native species and to increase humane protections for our captive wildlife. It was us, the people of California who passed Proposition 117 which actually banned the hunting of mountain lions. Commissioner Richards knew that when he signed up for his hunt and essentially gave us the "Bronx Cheer" while flaunting his trophy. This is who is supposed to serve as guardian of our native wildlife.
The legislature has the authority and must so exercise it to immediately remove this man from his position. I would also like to see an investigation into whether or not he brought the $7000 body back with him to California which is also illegal.
It is irrelevant whether his acts were legal in Idaho or not. What is relevant is the act itself. It speaks volumes about Richards' attitude towards protecting wildlife. It shouts his lack of regard for the opinions of the California public and it has, in the end, killed a lion.
"I'm glad it's legal in Idaho," said Richards.
"Shame on you" said us.
Article first published as Legislators Demand Resignation of California Fish & Game Warden Who Killed Lion on Technorati