Dec 4, 2012

Mountain Lion Cubs Shot

By Rebecca Dmytryk / Wildlife Emergency Services

Sign the petition, HERE.

One of the young cubs killed December 1st.
It is our understanding that at dusk on Friday, November 30th, two sibling mountain lion cubs, between 5 and 9 months of age, were observed hiding, together, on the 800 block of Correas Street in Half Moon Bay, just a few yards away from expansive open space and wild land.

The next evening - Saturday, December 1, the pair was spotted again, together, and this time in someone's backyard. Perhaps the cubs were stranded, unable to get back across the creek due to flooding. Was the mother still alive? Was there a chance she stowed them in the vicinity and they were waiting for her return? Were they simply starving and desperate?

The cubs when they were hiding.

It is unclear what transpired next, but the cubs were shot and killed by game wardens, with public safety being cited as the main reason.

While public safety must come first, in situations involving potentially orphaned young we believe every available resource must be utilized and every non-lethal option exhausted before resorting to lethal control. 

Without a doubt, these were young of the year that were still dependent on their mother. Perhaps the mother had been killed and the cubs were struggling to survive - this would account for them being thin, as cubs stay with their mothers up to about 2 years. 

As for their described behavior, allowing humans to approach - this is not unusual for motherless, starving, or otherwise desperate young.

These weren't kittens, though, these were older cubs, and because of this we do not feel they would have been suited for life in captivity, but, we do believe they were excellent candidates for rehabilitation.

They were old enough to have an innate fear of humans, and imprinting would not have been an issue. During rehabilitation, they would have received aversion training, making them even less likely to approach humans - ever.

Unfortunately, in California, the rehabilitation of mountain lions is not allowed - the same way black bear rehabilitation was prohibited years ago, and now we have at least one center licensed for black bear. This incident highlights the need for California to have at least one facility for the rehabilitation of mountain lions under certain, very specific situations - such as this.

Please join us in an appeal, HERE, to the California Department of Fish and Game to review current policies regarding mountain lions and consider broadening them to encourage communication and collaboration between wardens and outside wildlife specialists before lethal control is used, if and whenever possible, and, additionally, to consider the possibility of licensing at least one mountain lion rehabilitation facility in California. 


Anonymous said...

I live on the North Coast of California--Trinidad to be exact. I read in today's Times-Standard the very sad story about the cougar cubs being killed by the CA Fish & Game wardens. I saw the photos of these small cats and they do not look like they were a threat. Surely, cats this young and small could have been tranquilized and relocated.

These wardens should be investigated for killing these majestic creatures. Perhaps it's a culture of behavior--following in the footsteps of former Fish and Game Commission president, Dan Richards, who obviously feels that killing mountain lions is a sport.

Maybe this is another CA state agency gone awry--just like State Parks!

ingrid (@thefreequark) said...


My heart split in two when I first read this story. There are times I feel a heart can't break any more on behalf of wildlife, but I suppose that's the cost of being engaged with the animals we care about.

I did a satellite map view of the location you mentioned and couldn't believe that lethal measures were undertaken when this address clearly abuts open space -- the lions' home turf! It's unforgivable that this is business as usual, the default position, in a situation that clearly called for more complex reasoning.

I hope, like you do, that future encounters will be met with much more restraint and sound judgment. What are the chances?

I can't believe I don't know this already, but what is the obstacle for California facilities getting licensed to rehabilitate mountain lions?

Sandy Collins said...

We owned a ranch in Central CA, and had mountain lions running around. They never bothered us, and we were thrilled every time we saw them. We had other critters.........cats, dogs, peacocks, horses. NONE of them were ever in the slightest molested by the cougars.

I bet those officers felt like real big men, shooting CUBS!

Did they ever think of just rescuing them and taking them to a safe game refuge???

Glad I don't live in CA any more. This is just plain brutality, and senseless murder of wildlife.