LA Leaders Want To End Killing Of Mountain Lions For Taking Livestock
The death of mountain lion P-56 has grabbed the attention of city leaders in L.A., where two council members are calling for an end to permitted killings.
The male mountain lion was shot and killed legally using what's known as a depredation permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife after a dozen sheep and lambs were killed in the Camarillo area. Such permits are issued to landowners who can prove the loss or damage of livestock was caused by mountain lions.
Councilmen Paul Koretz, whose 5th District covers parts of the westside and San Fernando Valley, and David Ryu, whose 4th District covers parts of Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills and Sherman Oaks, wrote a resolution calling for the state to stop issuing these permits and establish a fund to reimburse anyone who loses an animal in an attack.
I am outraged at the unnecessary killing of mountain lion P56 in a time when we are working on all levels to protect our local wildlife and habitats. Thank you @davideryu & @BobBlumenfield for your support in stopping depredation permits and listing our local pumas as threatened pic.twitter.com/8PnEkDANhV— Paul Koretz (@PaulKoretzCD5) February 12, 2020
Mountain lions are not threatened or endangered in California. However, Prop 117, a ballot measure passed in 1990, made them a "specially protected species," a status which, combined with other statutes, makes it illegal to hunt them, according to CDFW.
In Southern California, the spread of freeways and urban development have left them so dangerously isolated that their long-term survival is in question. P-56 was a collared lion that was part of an ongoing study in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area.
"I think there's just an insane disconnect between the fact that we are working to conserve our mountain lions, especially in the city of Los Angeles, where there's possibly one still surviving that's collared and there may be another one that's not collared — two males, and we just allowed one to be killed," Koretz said.
Speaking on KPCC's AirTalk, Koretz called the killing "absolutely unnecessary" and pointed to other steps that might be taken to prevent the loss of livestock, including the use of rubber bullets to deter mountain lions and using more sophisticated animal pens for protection.
But some residents in areas impacted by mountain lions say they have a right to defend life and property.
Phillips said victims of attacks shouldn't be blamed for not building a better pen or taking other precautions that don't end up working.
"I mean, it would be sort of like tantamount to telling a burglary victim, 'Your burglar alarm wasn't the best and therefore you're at fault for being burglarized,'" he said.
CDFW has said it will review P-56's death to make sure protocols were followed.
- Verified mountain lion-human attacks (California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife)
- Table of depredation permits and mountain lions killed 2001-2018 (CDFW)