GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to move forward with a plan to reduce the number of predators in the Piceance Basin and the Upper Arkansas River Basin to help struggling mule deer populations.
CPW will hire specialized contractors to kill between five and 15 mountain lions and 10 to 25 black bears a year for the next three years in the Roan Plateau area and 20 to 30 cougars in the Arkansas Basin.
Wildlife officials say the culling is necessary to reduce pressure on mule deer fawns and allow more to reach adulthood.
The culling program is part of CPW’s Colorado West Slope Mule Deer Strategy, and will include research studies to separate the effects of predation on fawn survival from other factors, such as development pressure, habitat loss, and recreation.
The Denver Post reported some biologists and wildlife advocates call the plan ineffective and inhumane. They say human development is the main problem for deer, not predators.