President of the California Fish and Game Commision, Daniel W. Richards, was replaced on Wednesday for killing a mountain lion during a hunt seven months ago.
Los Angeles Times reports that Richards sparked a lot of controversy when he first killed the mountain lion. Richards was hunting in Idaho when he made the legal kill; however, hunting of mountain lions has been outlawed in California for decades. The controversy with the January hunt was only deepened when images of a smiling Richards holding up the dead mountain lion were posted on the internet. Also, the state ethics agency allegedly say that Richards had violated the state’s gift limit of $420.00 by accepting the $6,800 guided cougar hunt.
After the incident, more than 40 state legislators suggested that Richards resign in March. Even though Richards did not do anything illegal, they believe Richards showed poor judgement by killing the mountain lion, an act that is opposed by most Californians.
The commission has voted to elect Commissioner Jim Kellogg as Richards’ replacement for president. However, Richards plans to stay on the commission until his term is up in January.
“It’s been a privilege and an honor to be on this commission,” Richards said. “I tried to be consistent and give everyone a voice and a fair shake. I believe I made decisions on matters that reflected that.”
Newly elected vice-president of the commision, Michael Sutton, says that the killing of the mountain lion and Richards’ comments in defending his actions were key factors when deciding to vote to replace Richards as president.
“It was pretty clear that Commissioner Richards had lost the confidence of the majority of the commission,” Sutton stated. “Most of us feel it is inappropriate to use the presidency as a bully pulpit for your views.”
Do you think Richards was in the wrong?