Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that provides the Department of Fish and Wildlife with more options when dealing with mountain lion encounters.
The new law requires consideration and use of non-lethal procedures when responding to mountain lion incidents where the lion has not been deemed an immediate threat to public health or safety.
The legislation further empowers the Department with the authority to use outside resources, such as qualified individuals or groups, to assist in implementing non-lethal tactics.
Also included in the new language is the mention of rehabilitation as a possible non-lethal option. Rehabilitation would include the care of injured adult lions and the raising of orphans for release into the wild. Never before has the Department been authorized to allow the rehabilitation of cougars in California.
Earlier this year, hoping to encourage rehabilitation of mountain lions in California, WES organized a group of experts to develop guidelines for the rescue and care of the big cats. Our recommendations will be based, largely, on the work being done with Florida panthers by the White Oak Conservation Center. See HERE. We hope to deliver our peer-reviewed document to the Department by the end of the year.
In the meantime, WES is in the process of pulling together mountain lion experts and specialized capture equipment in Los Angeles and the Central Coast area to be ready and available to assist the Department as needed.
If you have specialized skills or equipment and an interest in being a part of either action team, please contact our director, Rebecca Dmytryk, at firstname.lastname@example.org.