In response to the first killing of a mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains under a state law that allows owners to take such action to protect their livestock, two City Council members introduced a resolution Tuesday calling for an end to the practice.
The resolution also seeks to establish a fund to reimburse people who lose animals to a mountain lion and asks that the city support the listing of Southern California/Central Coast mountain lions as “threatened” under the California Endangered Species Act.
“There continues to be an insane disconnect between the important conservation work we are doing in a time when we are racing the clock to protect our native species … while the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is undermining our work by handing out depredation permits on an apex predator just trying to survive in his natural habitat,” Councilman Paul Koretz said. “We can do better and we must.”
Mountain lion hunting has been banned in California since 1990. An exception to the law, created in 2014, allows lions that have killed a pet or livestock to be put down. In those instances, a property owner may request a depredation permit from the DFW.
Koretz and Councilman David Ryu said Southern California mountain lions face an increasingly difficult and uncertain future due to a variety of threats.
“The Southern California mountain lion is the symbol of L.A.’s wildlife,” Ryu said. “It is the apex predator at the top of a diverse ecosystem you can’t find anywhere else on Earth. But today, our iconic mountain lions face the possibility of extinction.”
According to National Park Service officials, the property owner who killed the lion known as P-56 last month had reported nine lion attacks on his livestock over the past two years, resulting in the loss of 12 animals, mostly sheep and a few lambs.
Prior to obtaining a depredation permit to kill the lion, the property owner took a variety of steps to keep the lion from his animals, including penning his livestock close to a barn and house, using trained guard dogs, putting up hot-wire fencing and using motion-activated lights and audio frequencies. None of the techniques worked.
The resolution will first be heard by the City Council’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
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