Yesterday's press release from Fish and Game regarding the two mountain lion cubs killed by wardens in Half Moon Bay on December 1st, HERE, sparked more criticism and outrage from citizens.
What people need to realize is that for a first responder, be it a sheriff, firefighter, or game warden, their number one priority is public safety. The wardens did what they believed had to be done to protect the public.
Right or wrong, there is a greater issue here.
At this time, California does not allow rehabilitation of mountain lions - they must either be killed or placed into captivity - even though successful rehabilitation is possible and has been conducted elsewhere in the country.
This is where we need to focus our energy - on developing rehabilitation guidelines, and, eventually, constructing a facility specifically for the rehabilitation and re-wilding of cougars.
This work must be done so when something like this happens again, when there are sub-adult cubs that need a little more time to grow up before they're on their own, there will be a suitable place for them to receive the care they need, and then one day, when they're ready, we can give them the greatest gift of all - their freedom.
PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. John Huckabee does an excellent job at describing the feeling of losing a wild animal to captivity in The Gift I Cannot Give, HERE. Enjoy.