JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A group that works to protect cougars wants wildlife officers to release a mother cat that's been killing deer near homes in the Jackson area.

The cougar was captured Monday but her two kittens have eluded authorities.

The Cougar Fund says releasing the mother will help ensure the survival of the kittens.

Department spokesman Mark Gocke told the Jackson Hole Daily (http://bit.ly/z2MZV7 ) that releasing the mother wouldn't be safe. He said officers tried everything to scare the family away but he says they've become habituated to the area.

Wildlife officials and representatives of the Cougar Fund have both speculated that the cats may have been drawn there because people have been feeding deer in the area in recent years. That's prohibited by Teton County land regulations.