State Issues Directive to Better Protect Mountain Lions
SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) announced that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has changed state policy for the issuance of mountain lion depredation permits to provide more protections for the animal in Southern California. The policy shift comes on the heels of legislation introduced in 2017 by Assemblymember Bloom to address the lack of flexibility available to game wardens as they try to manage and protect the state’s apex predator at a time of increased human and wildlife interactions.
“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 Bloom. “I applaud the department and other participating partners for their hard work over the last year in developing these best practices that will also serve as a foundation for minimizing future human-wildlife conflicts.”
In 1990, California voters approved the Wildlife Protection Act, which prohibits the hunting of mountain lions. However, the act also authorizes owners of livestock that have been attacked by a mountain lion to seek lethal depredation permits. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is legally required to grant these permits and over the past several decades, thousands of mountain lions have been killed through the issuance of these permits.
In late November of 2016, a resident mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains preyed on livestock in two locations, apparently killing a dozen animals, including alpacas and goats. The livestock owner applied for a depredation permit through DFW which, in accordance with state law, issued a depredation permit that allowed for the shooting of the mountain lion despite the existence of other effective, non-lethal strategies.
The November incident sparked a debate on how best to manage and protect California’s mountain lion population and prompted Assemblymember Bloom to introduce AB 8 which called for increased flexibility on how the state deals with protected wildlife that may pose a danger to livestock and property. The legislation led to the creation of the Predator Policy Working Group at the California Fish and Game Commission which developed the recommendations that DFW adopted in the new mountain lion depredation permit policy.
The new policy adopted by DFW can be found here.
Richard Bloom represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.