Groups: Cougar Hunt Quota Too High

New Mexico – Environmentalists are concerned that a revised plan by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department would allow more cougars to be hunted around the state.

The Game Commission will make a final decision on the hunting limits for both cougars and bears during an Oct. 28 meeting.

WildEarth Guardians and Animal Protection of New Mexico say the department's numbers represent more than a 100 percent increase over current hunting quotas, which stand at about 490 cougars from New Mexico's various game management units. For females, the quota would go from 126 to more than 380.

The group says reaching the quotas could bring the cougar population to the brink of extinction.

The agency says increased hunts would address depredation and safety issues and still leave New Mexico with a sustainable population.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.