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VIDEO: Residence Owner Said Mountain Lion Killing "Had to Be Done"

Community meeting clarifies questions about mountain lion killing.

In response to a passionate community reaction to a mountain lion shooting in a Redwood City neighborhood, the Felidae Conservation Fund hosted a community meeting with various authorities, including the California Department of Fish and Game.

The March 29 incident sparked a amongst residents who believed authorities acted hastily and those who believed they correctly placed human safety first.

"This is a reality check," said Zara McDonald, Executive Director of Felidae Conservation Fund. "The authorities acted with the appropriate response given the circumstances."

However, McDonald said the system isn't without flaws. She believes all departments, local and at the state level, could have better training in how to handle situations such as the incident on March 29.

Bay Area wildlife biologist James “Doc” Hale suggested that all agencies involved form a response matrix to better handle future situations.

Redwood City Police Capt. Dan Mulholland explained that this wasn’t the police “looking for target practice,” as some residents suggested, but a sequence of carefully, but quickly, thought-out decisions that played out in a three-hour time frame.

Cherie Oliver, whose property the mountain lion roamed onto, said that people who were quick to judge the authorities' actions had no idea what exactly occurred in her backyard.

"They did a fantastic job of responding," Oliver said. "I would never want to put my neighbors' safety at risk. They had to make a choice, and sadly, the mountain lion had to die."

The incident occurred around 8:15 a.m., a high traffic time when many children head to school.

Mountain lion sightings are not uncommon and authorities have multiple tips for human-animal interaction and what to do should an individual encounter a puma. Check out the two videos from the Department of Fish and Game for more information about these marvelous, yet often times misunderstood, creatures.  

Sam April 14, 2011 at 10:58 PM
I really don't see why this had to happen. Animals only attack when they feel threaten. Poor mountain lion. I hope next time the police and residents will take a more calm approach to the matter.
Troy April 15, 2011 at 12:55 AM
My question is what are the authorities doing to become more proficient in these matters rather that just put a bullet to the head. "Could have, should have" better training doesn't answer this question. How are they going to progress? Seems like the meeting didn't cover anything we've already heard ......where's our tax money going?
Shaz April 15, 2011 at 02:13 AM
It is really sad that the wildcat HAD TO BE PUT DOWN. It is perhaps even more sad that y'all feel compelled to comment on the situation when you obviously didn't even watch the darn report. WALT - There WAS a wildlife biologist on the scene. There were Fish & Game wardens. They had tranquilizer guns. You ask for an alternative to killing OR tranquilizing. WHAT would that be??? ZACK - They did not 'just put a bullet to its head' - they TRIED for THREE HOURS to find another way. They could not tranquilize the cat because it was behind a wooden fence - all you could see was a few inches of its face. You can't shoot an animal in the face and expect good results. This team was very professional. Your tax dollars were being well spent. DAVID - No doubt these animals come visit our suburban areas at night. This one was unfortunately caught out during rush hour. The fear of it coming into contact with humans was not irrational. Did you not hear that the woman who called 911 saw the cat in her backyard, where she was with her 2 children? Do you not know that children are PREY to these animals? The experts tell parents to keep their kids with them at all times on the trail. That is why. SARA - Hard to respond to you, especially your lament that there are too many children. You were a child once. What a terrible loss if you had not been allowed to reach your current potential.
Julie April 15, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Obviously, the authorities did not have the proper equipment or training to handle this humanely. They did the right thing given the circumstances and their state of preparedness, but the process is broken. I sincerely hope that better protocols, training and equipment is made available in the future. Another point I think is that people living here in the shadow of the Santa Cruz Mountains have to be a little more savvy about where they live. We are in lion country. They were here first. Can't handle that? Well, maybe you should consider moving to the east coast.
Shana Levy McCracken April 16, 2011 at 01:16 AM
I wish I had known about this meeting. It looks like attendance was low, and I hope authorities know how upset many of us were about the incident. One thing I'm not reading here, nor did I hear it addressed in the video, is why the helicopters were allowed to hover so close to the site? I have heard that this aggravated the situation by frightening the cat. (Living a half-mile away, the sound of the helicopters was unnerving to me, and I know what they are and that they won't hurt me. A wild cat doesn't have this perspective.) Are there any policies about how close news cameras or aircraft can get under such circumstances? It seems to me there should be a no fly zone established and enforced. I fervently hope that we do a better job here in Redwood City, if there is a next time.

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