Dec 14, 2012

Campaign for Change

WildRescue's director, Rebecca Dmytryk, was quick to launch an appeal to the California Department of Fish and Game after the fatal shooting of two mountain lion cubs by game wardens in Half Moon Bay on December 1st.

The petition, HERE, asking the Department to consider changes to its mountain lion policies, has received just over 800 signatures, so far, and support from over 35 licensed wildlife rehabilitators from around the state.

The care of young or infirm mountain lions, with their subsequent return to the wild, is currently prohibited in California. There are, however, a few states that operate successful rehabilitation programs.

The White Oak Conservation Center in Florida, for example, operates a panther rehabilitation program in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. Check out the story of one of the compound's recent graduate, HERE.

[White Oak Conservation Center]

This type of collaborative effort is what Dmytryk and others envision for California.
It's time we put rehabilitation on the table as an option, instead of just euthanasia or captivity. It's not like it's impossible, we've just got to want it badly enough - collectively, as a society, and I think we're there. We're asking officials to work with us in exploring the possibility.
Hoping to pave the way for rehabilitation of cougars in California, Dmytryk has reached out to fellow wildlife rehabilitators and mountain lion experts throughout the country, inviting them to participate in developing criteria. These guidelines will include minimum requirements for a cougar compound exclusively for the big cats.

Mountain lions undergoing rehabilitation must be kept isolated from people. In time, Dmytryk hopes to see construction of a compound on a remote piece of property.

I believe, if we build it, they will come. If we have rehabilitation guidelines, trained personnel, and the facility in place, we will be in a much better position to negotiate for mountain lion rehabilitation in the future. 

The petition can be found HERE.

Inquiries or offers of help can be made HERE.

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