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Killing of Cecil the Lion Shines Spotlight on Trophy Hunting in Maine

A new poll, conducted after the killing of Cecil the lion in Africa, finds a majority of U.S. voters also oppose trophy hunting for bears in the United States in places such as Maine. Courtesy: HSUS
A new poll, conducted after the killing of Cecil the lion in Africa, finds a majority of U.S. voters also oppose trophy hunting for bears in the United States in places such as Maine. Courtesy: HSUS
October 12, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine – A new poll shows Americans are turning thumbs down on trophy hunting by a two-to-one margin.

And the same poll also sends a clear message about trophy hunting in states such as Maine.

Sixty-four percent of U.S. voters told a Humane Society of the United States poll that they oppose trophy hunting in the United States, and in Maine that usually means bear hunting.

"We know for instance, that there are thousands and thousands of bears that are killed – I believe over 3,000 in the state of Maine alone, as trophies,” says Teresa Telecky, the Humane Society’s director of wildlife. “And other animals that are hunted as trophies here in the U.S. are mountain lions, wolves and bobcats."

Seventy-four percent of those responding to the poll also said they oppose so-called canned hunting, where animals such as lions are bred and hunted in fenced enclosures for trophies.

Teleky says the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe by an American dentist was a major factor in raising both awareness and concern about the trophy hunting issue in New England and the nation.

"African lions, polar bears, African elephants,” she points out. “Every child in America knows and loves these animals, and to think that, you know, Americans are the number one hunters of these animals and are bringing in all these body parts and trophies, I think it really hit a note of disgust among Americans, and I do think that played into these findings."

Two-thirds of Americans in the poll supports listing African lions under the Endangered Species Act and 64 percent support placing restrictions on trophy hunting of native animals such as bobcats and mountain lions.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME