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Local Wildlife Campaign Spearheads Campaign to Change State Mountain Lion Policies

Group advocating for rehabilitating mountain lions instead of killing them.

The shooting and killing of two young mountain lions in Half Moon Bay earlier this month has prompted a Monterey-based wildlife rescue group to petition the state Department of Fish and Game about their mountain lion policies.

On Dec. 1 game wardens shot the mountain lions that had taken refuge under the porch of a home in the 800 block of Correas Street earlier that week, according to the department.

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office had responded to the cubs who were about 10 months old and each weighed about 30 pounds.

Game wardens were called to the scene and decided to shoot the animals that Saturday evening in the name of public safety, department officials said.

According to Rebecca Dmytryk of the animal aid group Wildlife Emergency Services, these two animals "would have been excellent candidates for rehabilitation."

She said shooting or tranquilizing the cougars would have been the last thing wildlife rescuers would resort to, especially since Dmytryk believes the cubs were hungry and desperate, leading to their strange behavior around humans.

The animals appeared to be habituated to humans and did not try to hide or run away from the humans, department officials said.

Dmytryk has put together a petition asking the department to change policies on how to deal with mountain lions found in public spaces.

The petition has garnered 770 signatures as of late this morning and once it reaches 1,000 will be delivered to the department's director Charlton Bonham.

Dmytryk said she hopes to form a collaborative effort with wildlife rescue organizations and the Department of Fish and Game to discuss constructing a rehabilitation facility for the state to use for mountain lions, instead of killing or capturing the big cats.

In the meantime, Dmytryk said she is hoping to get a response from a letter her organization sent to Bonham, John Laird, the California Secretary for Natural Resources, and Gov. Jerry Brown.

The Department of Fish and Game said in the days after the lethal action that the mountain lions were deemed a safety threat after several days of monitoring the cubs and giving them a chance to return into the wild.

Other options of tranquilizing the cats with a poke-stick or dart gun were not plausible given the proximity of the animals to a populated neighborhood.

That course of action ran the risk of having two possibly agitated young mountain lions on the loose near humans, department officials said.

The petition to the Department of Fish and Game can be found at wildrescue.org.

Bucksnort December 19, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Will it take a cougar to tear the throat out of a 3 year old kid playing in the backyard before Wildlife Emergency Services realizes they aren't called mountain LIONS for nothing.
Mark Taylor December 19, 2012 at 04:27 PM
The problem is that when these animals habituate themselves to humans, they lose any fear they might have. And then they see us as food the same way they see dogs, cats, deer etc. That is why now many states that now have large mountain lion populations are forced to make sure they are unwelcome in human areas. Full adults may be tranquilized and relocated (and killed if they come back) but sometimes that is not possible. Tough call on the cubs. Assuming the mother is dead, you would have to feed them or find another female that will raise them. It would be hard to return them to the wild and likely would end up in a zoo or something similar.
Phil Otto December 20, 2012 at 04:10 AM
These were CUBS !!!!!! There was no reason to kill them.

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