MOUNTAIN LION FOUNDATION:
History of the Mountain Lion Foundation
Since 1986, the Mountain Lion Foundation has inspired citizens across the nation to act on behalf of lions and their habitat by presenting practical solutions to complex problems, providing unbiased information to media, aiding local activists, promoting lion research, influencing regulation and changing laws.
- Governor Ronald Reagan signs legislation
outlawing the sport hunting of mountain lions for five
moratorium on sport hunting lions comes to an end. The
Legislature extended the ban twice between 1972 and 1986.
- Mountain Lion Coalition is formed to protect mountain
lions in California.
- Coalition defeats two bills in
the State Legislature that would have allowed trophy
hunting of mountain lions.
- Coalition stops
California Fish and Game Commission (CFGC) plan to allow
mountain lion hunting.
- Coalition files
for non-profit status and the Mountain Lion Preservation
Foundation is born.
- CFGC approves trophy mountain
lion hunting over the Foundation's opposition.
Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation files successful lawsuit challenging the lion
hunting decision for the 1987 season.
- Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation
sponsors bill in the State Legislature to ban the use of
dogs for mountain lion hunting (the bill was defeated
after the National Rifleman's Association made the
measure its highest priority).
Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation-produced study documents the decline in
mountain lion habitat in the Sierra Nevada.
a court order, the CFGC approves mountain lion trophy
hunt for the 1988 season.
- Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation files a second
lawsuit challenging the mountain lion hunting
regulations for the 1988 season.
- Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation's 100%
volunteer effort gathers 680,000 signatures to qualify
an initiative (Proposition 117) to ban mountain lion
trophy hunting for the 1990 California ballot.
- Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation
creates its Adopt-a-Lion program.
approve Proposition 117 which bans mountain lion hunting
and creates a $30 million-per-year Habitat Conservation
- Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation-sponsored legal decision that
invalidated the California Department of Fish and Game's
1988 mountain lion hunt is upheld by the California
- Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation produces two traveling
mountain lion exhibits. One of the permanent mountain lion
exhibits is created by MLPF for the Santa Monica Mountains
Conservancy in Southern California.
Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation publishes Preserving Cougar Country.
Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation creates an anti-poaching campaign.
Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation-supported bills are approved in the California State
Legislature to provide millions of "bucks for bucks."
- Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation is officially
re-named the Mountain Lion Foundation (MLF)
- MLF publishes Cougar: The American Lion.
- MLF files
a "friends of the court" brief in a lawsuit that said
the CFGC erred in protecting the California gnatcatcher
as a candidate species under the state Endangered
- MLF files another "friends" brief in a
lawsuit that protects endangered salmon from pumping in
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
and other groups file a lawsuit to protect an important
wildlife corridor in Coal Canyon, between the Santa Ana
Mountains and Chino Hills State Park on the border of
- MLF helps build the evidence for the
prosecution of a ranch in Monterey County that hosted
illegal mountain lion hunting.
- MLF loses a bid in
the State Legislature to ban the use of dogs to hunt
black bears in California.
- MLF publishes
the anti-poaching book Crimes Against the Wild.
defeats legislation to eliminate the Habitat
Conservation Fund, which was created in Proposition 117.
- MLF helps kill three bills to repeal Proposition 117.
MLF helps kill legislative bill to eliminate the Endangered Species Ballot
- Successful lawsuit by
MLF and others keep the Mojave ground squirrel on the
state Endangered Species List, which preserves an
important precedent for the California Endangered
Species Act (CESA).
- The California Legislature places Proposition 197, to rescind Proposition 117's ban
on mountain lion hunting, on the November 1996 ballot.
- MLF launches it's No on Prop 197
public education campaign.
- California's voters
defeat Proposition 197 by more than 16 percent.
- MLF presents first annual anti-poaching award
to a deserving public official
- A MLF sponsored bill to ban the use of hounds for hunting bears and bobcats is placed
in the California State Legislature (failed after
opposition from houndsmen).
- MLF produces
award-winning anti-poaching public service announcements
in five languages for distribution to the media.
wins a legal decision overturning Gov. Pete Wilson's
emergency order for a sweeping five-year waiver of the
California Endangered Species Act.
- MLF sponsors a
successful measure in the State Legislature requiring
the California Fish and Game Commission to post
decision-making documents on the Internet.
creates California Legal Advocates for Wildlife (CLAW),
a new legal defense program.
- MLF files
its first lawsuit challenging the inadequacy of the
Habitat Conservation Plan for the North Natomas
development in Sacramento, California.
successfully amends a bill that would have eliminated
the mountain lion hunting ban that was established in
- MLF successfully petitions the CFGC
to list the Sierra Nevada Bighorn sheep as "endangered"
under the California Endangered Species Act.
helps California Department of Fish and Game win a $3
million appropriation to write a recovery plan for
- MLF joins with the National Audubon
Society to develop and implement the Adopt-A-Species
program to teach California's middle school students
about endangered species.
- Coal Canyon is
acquired by Californnia State Parks and protected for all time,
providing a key link for the safe passage of mountain
lions and other wildlife between Chino Hills State Park
and the Santa Ana Mountains.
- MLF launches Lions in
program to educate state park rangers and
- MLF and California State Parks work
together to create a three-panel, color interpretive
- Judge rules in favor of MLF's case which
invalidated the City of Sacramento's authority to allow
developers to kill endangered species and requiring the
USFWS to complete an Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) that would analyze the effects of habitat
destruction on giant garter snakes and Swainson hawks in
the Natomas Basin.
- MLF supports the USFWS proposal
to designate over 5.4 million acres of public and
private land in California as critical habitat for the
- MLF launches its Living
program to educate Californians on how to
coexist with mountain lions and to introduce ideas and
practical assistance that will protect lions that come
into contact with people, rather than punishing them for
- MLF organizes,
chairs and presents at the first-ever sessions on the
conservation of mountain lions at a major scientific
conference, Carnivores 2002.
- As part of the Living
program, Wolf Creek and Indian Valley 4-H
club members and MLF celebrate 4-H's 100th birthday by
completing the construction of the first cougar-proof
pen designed specifically to protect goats and other small domestic
livestock from mountain lion depredation.
- MLF's Living with
program worked with local 4-H and FFA groups to
build the first cougar-proof pen in Calaveras County,
- Working with the California Oak
Foundation, MLF sues the Department of Forestry
demanding they protect oak woodlands, which provide
excellent mountain lion habitat.
- MLF, with other
conservation groups, files suit in federal court and
successfully stops the US Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(ODFW) from proceeding with an elk population study that
involves killing at least half the mountain lions in two
regions of Oregon.
- MLF launches its new
program in Southern California's Santa Monica
Mountains to teach communities responsible ways to
coexist with wildlife on the suburban fringe.
organizes, chairs and presents at the first-ever
conservation session at a Mountain Lion Workshop, a
scientific conference on mountain lions held by state
wildlife agencies held approximately every four years.
- MLF presents information on lion biology
and behavior to residents in Palo Alto after a lion is
killed by CDFG and receives national media coverage.
MLF educates over 200 Municipal Water District field
employees in the Santa Monica Mountains on staying safe
while working in lion country.
- MLF testifies against the Arizona
Game and Fish Department's plan to eradicate all mountain
lions from the Sabino Canyon.
- The last known male mountain
lion (P1) in California's Santa Monica Mountains has a
depredation permit issued on him after preying on
domestic goats, but MLF fights to have P1 spared. Later
that year, P2, his mate, gives birth to four cubs.
MLF works with the Felton 4-H to build a lion-proof
small livestock enclosure, preventing any depredation of
their livestock before an incident ever occurs.
opens its first field office in southern California and
offers presentations on wildlife corridors and living
with mountain lions.
- A large cougar display created
by MLF in 1996 for the Effie Yeaw Nature Center begins a
tour through Iowa to educate communities after a few
lion sightings raise concern and curiosity among
- MLF begins a Living with Lions
program in San Luis Obispo County, California, to help create support for local
ordinances on land use and wildlife friendly
neighborhoods while providing educational presentations
in the community and training local law enforcement
- MLF starts Project Newsworthy
to help provide
journalists with accurate information about mountain lions. The program
created multiple public service announcements in both
English and Spanish to be aired when a sighting has
- MLF works with the Black
Hills Mountain Lion Foundation to build a lion-proof
small livestock enclosure in South Dakota to expand
non-lethal husbandry techniques and help residents
coexist with the recovering cougar population in the
Black Hills region of that state.
- MLF publishes Human Exploitation of Mountain
Lions in the American West
analyzing the exceedingly
high rate at which mountain lions are killed and
suggestions for ecosystem recovery.
- MLF publishes Effects of
Sport Hunting Mountain Lions on Safety and Livestock
putting to rest once and for all the myth that sport
hunting lions will somehow increase the safety of people
and domestic animals.
- MLF expands upon
its successful Living with Lions program
with the launch
of Rural Partners
to help pet and livestock owners in
the Central Sierra better protect their animals.
MLF takes part in Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership
Program and hosts an AmeriCorps member full time to work
on its Rural Partners
- MLF partners with the
US Fish & Wildlife Service and Defenders of Wildlife to build
several lion-proof small livestock enclosures in Naples, Florida
to protect livestock and ultimately keep endangered
Florida panthers out of trouble in their shrinking
- MLF begins its two year Safe Passages
program, partnering with various agencies and the
public, to institutionalize protection for wildlife
corridors by beginning outreach in California neighborhoods around
the Santa Monica, Santa Susana, San Gabriel and Santa
Ana mountain ranges.
- MLF's Rural
program provides a grant to the Placer Nature
Center to create a permanent display and provide
education at the Auburn County Fair.
- MLF gives briefings
on mountain lions to over one-hundred San Diego Sheriff
Search and Rescue team members to increase the safety of
officers, the public, and mountain lions.
continues with the second year of the Safe Passages
program, recruiting numerous partners and spreading
education through presentations and a massive
community-wide door-to-door distribution of informative
fliers about local corridors.
expansion of MLF's website takes advantage
of more than 30 years of information, making information about mountain lions more easily accessible to the
public with daily news article updates, opinion articles, and feature presentations in text, audio, and video.
- MLF's Cougar
Clippings service expands to provide weekly electronic
news and keeps thousands of people informed on the media
coverage of mountain lions.
- MLF joins the popular
networking site Facebook and gains over 300 fans in the
- MLF and a coalition of Oregon-based conservation groups continued an on-going lawsuit against the Oregon Wildlife Services, and the USDA over Oregon's plans to preemptively kill off mountain lions to help elk herds.
- MLF joined with several other conservation groups to present written comments against new US Fish and Wildlife management plan which could eventually remove all mountain lions from Arizona's KofA wildlife refuge and its surrounding environs.
- In an effort to fight off a citizens movement based out of San Benito County to repeal Proposition 117, MLF responded to inquiries into the merits of Proposition 117 from both state and county officials, and appeared before the San Benito County Fish and Game Commission to answer a public inquiry into the threat mountain lions pose to that county's citizens.
- MLF provides an educational workshop for the Santa Paula Police Department after the "public safety" killing of a 15-pound lion kitten.
- MLF worked with the Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation to help stop Senate Bill 75 (to allow the use of hounds while hunting mountain lions
), and House Bill 1004 (which would have allowed people to keep the pelts of mountain lions killed for depredation or public safety
- MLF and its co-plaintiffs lose its appeal against the Oregon Wildlife Services, and the USDA.
- MLF rallies its California-based membership to object to a plan by the California Department of Fish and Game to close some of its wildlife refuges.
- MLF launches On Air, a broadcast project that conducts audio interviews with mountain lion experts.
- MLF participates in a community meeting after a lion is shot by police near the UC Berkeley campus and the public is outraged by the lack of non-lethal management techniques. MLF's outreach efforts encourage Californians to write letters to law enforcement agencies demanding a change from a "shoot first" attitude, and later that summer the Morgan Hill (California) Police Department uses pepper-balls to scare away a lion from town, and a game warden in San Bernardino county humanely tranquilizes and relocates a dispersing juvenile.
- MLF is recognized by the California State Senate for its contribution in passing Proposition 117 twenty years earlier.
- Thirty-four groups from 13 states joined MLF in an ad hoc coalition to celebrate and promote the American lion for a period of 117 days--June 7 through September 30, 2010. MLF's Celebrating the American Lion Campaign's
goal was to raise the national awareness of the plight facing lions in America today and to showcase the advocacy and public education work of the coalition's partner organizations.
- MLF starts its Lion Partners program where the Foundation provides advice and assistance to small volunteer mountain lion advocacy groups.
- MLF joins the Twitter network as MtnLionFdn
to update members instantly on the latest cougar news, events, and action alerts.
- MLF started off the year by posting a special 8-minute video detailing the basic biology and behavior of mountain lions on YouTube with links from the MLF website. A DVD of the video was also produced for distribution to small local conservation groups and educational institutions for use in public presentations without the need of an actual MLF presenter.
- In May, MLF tried something new by placing a "Stop the Killing. NOW!
" on-line petition. In this petition we called for: Banning the recreational hunting of lions on all federally owned or controlled lands. Halting the use of federal funds or agencies to conduct lion eradication or removal programs. And, demanding that the Governors of states with existing lion hunting policies emplace a moratorium on all hunts until that state's lion population model and management plans have undergone a rigorous scientific peer-review process.
- MLF's web-based activities centered on reinventing its website with a new, visually appealing, and user-friendly layout.
- MLF premiers its new "Where do we go from here?" poster and "American Lion brochure at a special gala event at the San Francisco Academy of Sciences.
- MLF partners with the St. Luis, Missouri Audubon Society to help inform that state's citizenry about their lions (or the official lack of them
) by developing two special Missouri specific educational brochures.
- MLF creates a special Washington state specific informational brochure.
- MLF joins with the Washington chapter of HSUS, PAWs, and a small collection of unaffiliated cougar activists to try and stop WAC 232-12-243. This particular administrative rule change would (in direct violation of Initiative 655) allow hunters to use hounds to hunt cougars in Washington for recreational purposes.
- MLF drafts and helps pass California Senate Bill 769. SB 769 is an amendment to Proposition 117 to allow the use of post-1990 lion carcasses and body parts for educational purposes.
- MLF continues an effort started in April of 2011 to reauthorize mountain lion research in California. The final outcome of this effort is Assembly Bill 1784, an amendment to Proposition 117 written and promoted by MLF. AB 1784 is expected to pass the legislature and be signed by the Governor sometime this summer.
- MLF helps raise the public's awareness to the actions of California Fish and Game Commission President Dan Richards after he kills a mountain lion on a legal hunt in Idaho and then brags about it by posting a photograph of him lifting his dead trophy. In the end we were unable to get Mr. Richards removed from the commission, but our actions, coupled with those of other conservation organizations, have resulted in the introduction of several legislative bills aimed at reforming the Commission.
- MLF starts a campaign to change the way the California Department of Fish and Game handles mountain lions that are listed as an imminent threat to the public's safety, and investigates the killings of mountain lions in Sunland and Santa Monica California.