What if the Missouri Legislature became convinced that our state would benefit from the introduction and management of a mountain lion population for the purpose of providing additional quarry for hunters?
Let's say that after our Department of Conservation had succeeded in creating a large population of big cats and Missouri's hunters had begun to enjoy this new resource, the information came to light that in one year lions had caused the death of five Missourians and injury to 276 others. What would be the reaction of the public? I'd guess that the overwhelming majority of Missourians would absolutely demand that the big cats be eliminated.
The damage described above is inflicted on our state every year by Missouri's deer population but few of us care. Why would we feel so outraged by mountain lion predators and be so apathetic toward the same destruction when it's cause by deer?
I think that the answer is simple. Deer are sleek and agile herbivores. They are harmless doe-eyed creatures that do not arouse instinctive fear in people. Lions are an ancient enemy. With their fangs and claws and the icy leer of a predator, they scare us to death.
In present day Missouri the very different attitude that we have toward these species is irrational. We should not tolerate either mountain lions or deer in our state. Human life is too precious.