A wildlife advocacy group is in Ashland tonight for a public forum to gain support for protecting Oregon's native predators, including cougars and bears.

A wildlife advocacy group is in Ashland tonight for a public forum to gain support for protecting Oregon's native predators, including cougars and bears.

State Rep. Peter Buckley and state Sen. Alan Bates, both Ashland Democrats, were scheduled to join representatives from the group Big Wildlife and others to take aim at Oregon's predator-control policies as well as the state's 2-year-old plan for managing cougars.

The forum begins at 7 p.m. in the Meese Room of Southern Oregon University's Hannon Library, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. It's free and open to the public.

Buckley said he would like the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at least to suspend the agency's ongoing study to determine if killing cougars in three so-called "target areas" — including Jackson County — to determine if thinning cougars curbs human-safety and damage complaints.