SALEM, Ore. -- Wildlife advocates are protesting the state of Oregon's move to expand a program to hunt cougars to reduce conflicts with livestock, big game, people and pets.
Opponents say it will only lead to more unnecessary hunting and killing of the big cats.
The state has paid for hunting cougars in three areas and 101 cougars have been killed since 2006. Now wildlife officials are designating four more areas where cougars will be hunted to aid elk and mule deer populations. They say 90 cougars a year would be killed in the new areas.
The advocacy group Big Wildlife says the state's cougar management program is a failed policy that ought to be halted. It says the state should pursue non-lethal means of controlling cougars.