California Mountain Lions Will No Longer Be Killed Automatically for Preying on Domestic Animals

Although it’s illegal to hunt them in California, until recently any resident whose livestock or pets were killed by a mountain lion could automatically get a permit from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to kill the big cat.

The CDFW issues an average of around 220 depredation permits each year throughout the state, although fewer than half of those who’ve received them have killed mountain lions.

But the CDFW has now changed its policy so the animal owners in Southern California’s Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountain ranges will have to make at least two attempts to keep mountain lions away using nonlethal methods before they’re issued permits allowing them to take lethal action.

“We believe we’ve struck a balance that takes into account the various attitudes regarding lions in the state, including the health of these sensitive populations,” Jordan Traverso, a spokesman for the CDFW, told the Sacramento Bee.

This is good news for mountain lions who make their homes in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountain ranges, where survival is already a struggle. These mountain lions could become extinct in 50 years, a 2016 study warned.

Urban sprawl and busy freeways make it difficult for them to leave their limited territory, which has resulted in inbreeding and its related health problems. Another danger is ingesting deadly rat poison, which happens when a mountain lion eats a poisoned animal.

In many cases, the lives of livestock and pets can be saved by taking measures like building impenetrable enclosures for them. Still, over 25 percent of the mountain lions living in the Santa Ana ranges were killed by people with depredation permits during a 13-year period.

The permit policy change was inspired by the 2016 case of P-45, a famous male mountain lion who killed several alpacas and goats in the Santa Monica Mountains. The animal owners – many of whom were left their animals outdoors in open pens, where they were easy targets for P-45 – wanted the mountain lion to be killed.

Biologists and animal welfare advocates – including 23,000 Care2 members who signed a petition — successfully pleaded for P-45′s life to be spared, since he was just doing what came naturally and most, importantly, because the male cat adds desperately needed genetic diversity.

Thanks to depredation permit policy change, P-45 and other Southern California mountain lions will be spared from an automatic death sentence. It only applies to a limited area for now, but animal welfare advocates are hoping the CDFW will expand it throughout the state.

“The new policy, based on the most recent biological and scientific information, is a significant step forward as we continue to learn how to peacefully coexist with our mountain lions in an ever-changing environment,” said Assemblymember Richard Bloom, who introduced legislation last year calling for more flexibility in how California deals with protected wildlife that may pose a danger to livestock.

In more good news for Southern California mountain lions, most of the funds have been raised to build a wildlife bridge across the 101 Freeway so they can safely leave their territory. Please sign and share this petition urging the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to start building this bridge ASAP.

Photo credit: CorrinaSt


Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

thanks for sharing

heather g
heather g10 months ago

In the 1800's European hunters used to go hunting in Africa and mow down scores of wild animals. It's difficult to understand that North America has not progressed beyond this point in 2018. (With the exception of the educated ones).

KimJ M
KimJ M10 months ago


KimJ M
KimJ M10 months ago

Petition already signed

ANA MARIJA R10 months ago

Encouraging step... All signed/shared... with hope.

Danii P
Past Member 10 months ago


Angela K
Angela K11 months ago

Petition already signed & shared

Ramesh B
Ramesh B11 months ago

Thank you

Carole R
Carole R11 months ago

Good move.

Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan Hill11 months ago

Thank you!