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Utah wildlife officials will allow more cougars to be hunted this season due to an increase in attacks on farm animals and indications the animal's population is doing well in the state.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah wildlife officials will allow more cougars to be hunted this season due to an increase in attacks on farm animals and indications the animal's population is doing well in the state.

The decision last week by the Utah Wildlife Board to increase the number of cougars that can be hunted to 522 — up by about 5 percent from last year.

That triggered backlash from the Humane Society, which argues the increase is unnecessary and nothing more than a way to appease trophy hunters.

Leslie McFarland, mammals program coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says the yearly cougar hunting quota ebbs and flows by year based on research about the animal's population and data about livestock killed.