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Peninsula Group Demands Changes to Policies Regarding Mountain Lions

The wildlife rescue group says shooting or tranquilizing mountain lions should be the last resort.

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 its 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, it 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.

— Bay City News


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August West December 15, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Why does the petition not note that the mountain lions here "hiding just a stone's throw" from a daycare center? Was that intentionally left out? Conveniently? Oh sure, they would never have attacked little kids. No chance.
Claire S December 15, 2012 at 04:53 PM
It was 5pm, no children were there. The lesson we could have taught these children about valuing wildlife was lost in a few gun shots.
Susan MacInnes December 15, 2012 at 09:10 PM
These cubs had been in the area for several days and would have been easy to trap with a humane trap and taken to a safer place. And where was the mother who would have been much more of a threat. Most animals that are darted or tranqualized will run away from the shooter to try to escape. The fish and game seem to be kill happy with these cats which are typically reclusive.

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