Cougar Clippings
Articles, opinions, and editorials about mountain lions and the Mountain Lion Foundation.
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Young Lion Found Dead Near Los Gatos: Starvation Not Ruled Out (12/6/2013)
Last Sunday, a young mountain lion was found dead under a porch in the mountainous, rural region west of Los Gatos, California.

Researchers from the U. C. Santa Cruz Puma Project announced that the dead animal appeared to be approximately one-year of age, and displayed no sign of foul play, attack, bullet wound or road burn.

Their best guess at this time for the cause of death is possible starvation, disease or poison from scavenging on animals killed by rodenticide.

Mountain lions this young are usually unable to successfully hunt and fend for themselves.

So if a mother lion dies from being struck by a car, or killed under a depredation permit her litter will quite possibly perish as well.

A necropsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.
(Article #1493) To read the actual news story click here...

Three New Kittens Join Santa Monica Mountain's Precarious Mountain Lion Population (12/4/2013)
Researchers with the National Park Service recently tagged and took biological samples from thee mountain lion kittens born a couple weeks ago to the female lion known as P-19. The new additions, two females and a male, to the Santa Monica Mountains small lion population, were promptly christened by the capture team as P-32, P-33, and P-34. Each lion monitored in the study is given a number, and the "P" stands for Puma.

Rather than sedate the mother, the den was kept under close observation waiting for P-19 to go off on a hunt. Finally, on the third day, the kittens were left alone and the researchers carried out a hurried examination and recording of biological data. DNA samples from the kittens will be used to determine which of the few surviving male lions in the area fathered the cubs.

P-19 is know to have had one other successful litter. One member of that first litter, P-23, was photographed last August with her deer kill on the side of Mulholland Drive.

Photo of Seth Riley holding cub.

Pictured above is Seth Riley of the National Park Service with one of the kittens, P-32. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, see more photos on their Facebook page.
(Article #1492) To read the actual news story click here...

CDFW Saves 3 Orphaned Lion Kittens (11/26/2013)
A week ago, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) received a report about three mountain lion kittens that were believed to have been orphaned. The sighting was from the small rural town of Callahan in the Salmon Mountains, about an hour South of the California-Oregon border.

The three tiny cubs were seen during the daytime walking along the Scott River. Mountain lion mothers frequently stash their cubs in rock outcroppings or bushy makeshift dens while hunting. Kittens are accompanied by their mother less than fifty percent of the time. CDFW states that, "more often, the department receives calls on suspected 'abandoned wildlife' when in fact the mother is just foraging or hunting for food."

Giving the lion family the benefit of the doubt, CDFW personnel decided to wait and see if the cubs' mother would return to her offspring. Unfortunately, the next day another resident saw the cubs, still without their mother and looking even more distressed.

Photo of rescued lion cub."The cubs were shivering and meowing all morning. It was obvious the cubs has been abandoned and needed help," CDFW reported.

A CDFW biologist brought the helpless kittens down to Region 2 Headquarters (Sacramento area), where they began receiving veterinary care. The cubs are only a few months old and require a lot of care and attention.

"After each meal," a combination of kitten formula and meat, "the cubs are wiped down head to tail (and underneath) by staff to mimic what their mother would do." This assistance keeps their digestive system moving.

The three kittens didn't have much time to learn "wild puma skills" from their mother and they will likely become imprinted on their human caregivers now. This makes them not good candidates for rehabilitating to release back into the wild.

California law currently does not allow mountain lions of any age to be rehabilitated and released. But on January 1st all that will change. Senate Bill 132, signed by Governor Brown in September, will change California's mountain lion laws in 2014 and allow the state to rehabilitate injured and orphaned lions, and return them to the wild.

At this time, Florida and Colorado are the only two states with programs that rehab lions until they are healthy and old enough to be set loose in the wild. Cubs younger than 6 months old are typically kept in captivity permanently.

This Sunday, December 1st, California will celebrate the passage of its new mountain lion law at an event in Half Moon Bay (click here for event flier). In addition to authorizing the rehabilitation of mountain lions, the legislation also requires that lions accidentally wandering into town cannot be killed unless they are acting aggressively towards people.

CDFW has preemptively revised their internal mountain lion guidelines to reflect many of the upcoming legal changes. Please take a moment to thank CDFW Director Bonham for adopting the new, more humane, mountain lion policies. And, let him know we all appreciate the time and hard work CDFW is putting in to rescue orphaned mountain lion cubs.

Director Charlton Bonham
1416 Ninth Street
12th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-7667

Photos courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: Three lion cubs (two boys and one girl) arrived at our Region 2 office in need of help.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: The cubs are housed indoors because it is too cold outside for them right now.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: Cute but still a wild animal.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: Cubs will be cubs.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: A very serious look.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: Dr. Deana Clifford (DVM) gives a health check up to one of three cubs.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: Dr. Deana Clifford (DVM) inspects cub number two while number three waits for his turn.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: The lion cubs are fed throughout the day a mixture of formula and ground meat. Eventually, deer meat will be part of their diet.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: A messy face ....

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: Okay, number three is ready to be weighed and evaluated.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: After each meal, the cubs are wiped down head to tail (and underneath) by staff to mimic what their mother would do.

Photo of lion kitten.
CDFW Caption: More of cub number three.

Photo of CDFW sweatshirt.
CDFW Caption: Staff wear long sleeves while handling the cubs.

Want even more photos? Check out the slideshow from the Sacramento Bee's December 4th update on the cubs.
(Article #1491) To read the actual news story click here...

Illinois DNR Blows Chance to Study Transient Lions (11/22/2013)
Earlier this week, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) threw away a unique opportunity to study transient mountain lions and get a better idea of what is happening with these special animals in their state, when they shot and killed a lion approximately 10 miles east of the Mississippi River near the small rural community of Morrison, Illinois.

The tragedy occurred when an IDNR Conservation Police Officer responded Wednesday to a call from a Whiteside County farmer that a large cat had been seen running across a corn field towards the farm owner's home and outbuildings.

Upon arrival, the officer checked the residence, horse barn and the other agricultural buildings without finding a lion or any evidence of damage to the farmer's livestock or pets. Further searching by the officer eventually revealed the mountain lion cowering in a concrete tunnel beneath a corn crib.

After consulting with other IDNR law enforcement and wildlife personnel, and at the farm owner's request, it was determined that the lion, which appeared to weigh just over 100 pounds and was approximately 6-feet in length, should be killed.
Photo of dead Illinois lion in back of truck.
Illinois' indigenous mountain lion population was extirpated from the state sometime before 1870. As a result, mountain lions are not currently protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code and are usually killed if sighted.

Prior to this incident, there have been three confirmed mountain lion sightings in Illinois between 2002 and 2008. A male lion was killed by a train in Randolph County in 2002. Another male was killed by a hunter in Mercer County in 2004, and a third male was shot and killed on the north side of Chicago in 2008. Although analysis indicates these three animals were genetically similar to mountain lions from South Dakota, their history in the wild is uncertain.

Because of the action taken Wednesday by IDNR, the most that scientists will now learn from this specimen will come from examining the carcass and possibly comparing DNA samples. If researchers had been given the opportunity to capture and collar the animal with a GPS tracking device, a whole wealth of information could have been made available to allow IDNR to better plan for the eventual recolonization of the state by a wildlife species that had been thoughtlessly wiped out of existence almost 145 years ago.

The decision to kill this particular lion exposes a need on the part of the Illinois legislature to enact legislation that will protect an incipient lion population trying to reestablish itself in the state.

To join the fight to help lions return to the Midwest, become a member of the Mountain Lion Foundation today by donating to our Midwest Mountain Lion Defense Fund. For a limited time only, donations of $50 or more will receive our 2014 Mountain Lion Calendar as a free thank you gift.
(Article #1490) To read the actual news story click here...

Declaring that Mountain Lions have "Better Taste" Than to Eat Nebraska Grandchildren, State Senator Chambers Tries to Stop Nebraska's First Lion Hunt (11/19/2013)
Declaring his "repugnance" over the inception of Nebraska's inaugural lion hunt, State Senator Ernie Chambers declared to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission that he would "oppose every proposal it brings to the Legislature as long as it allows mountain lions to be hunted."

The commission had come to the Nebraska Legislature's Executive Board (of which Senator Chambers is a member) with a request to accept the donation of 193 acres of land offered by Ducks Unlimited in Fillmore County, and a playground structure worth $48,421. Any land donation worth more than $10,000 and certain other donations offered between sessions have to be approved by the board and others, including the governor.

Senator Chambers told Roger Kuhn, a division administrator for Nebraska Game and Parks, that he had expressed his "displeasure, repugnance and disgust" to Nebraska Game and Parks Director James Douglas over the establishment of a mountain lion hunting season. He had told him to take the message to the commission that he would strenuously oppose any proposal as long as the hunting season continues.
Senator Ernie Chambers.
Senator Chambers said he was also "thoroughly outraged" by the auction conducted for a mountain lion hunting permit by the Nebraska Big Game Society.

"I was told that fears led to the creation of a hunting season for these, what I consider to be regal animals," he said. "And these fears were engendered by the possibility or likelihood of these animals eating the grandchildren of Nebraskans."

That notion is baseless, he said, because there is an inconsequential number of mountain lions in the state and those few "have better taste than that."

"There is no need or justification whatsoever to hunt these animals," Chambers said Monday. "It's cruelty. It's barbaric. I will do what I can to stop it."

In 2012, the Nebraska legislature passed Legislative Bill 928 allowing a mountain lion hunting season. Senator Leroy Louden of Ellsworth introduced the bill in response to increased sightings of the animals in the state. Before the law was passed, mountain lions could be killed if they threatened humans or livestock.

Experts believe that maybe there are as many as 23 resident mountain lions, including possibly two breeding females, in Nebraska at this time.

Senator Chambers said he would have voted against the donation offers presented to the Board last Friday, but the Executive Board delayed any action on the items until more board members were present. Three were absent from the meeting.

Senator Chambers informed the Board that if it approved the donations, he would offer a motion when the Legislature was back in session to undo that approval.

Known as the "Defender of the Downtrodden," Senator Chambers has announced that he will "designate mountain lions as members of the downtrodden."

"By fang and claw, somebody's going to pay in terms of the Legislature's time," he said. "And I don't mind being alone. In fact, that energizes me."

There is no record of mountain lions threatening or attacking humans in Nebraska since the species was extirpation from the state in 1890.
(Article #1489) To read the actual news story click here...

The Results are In: Mountain Lion Slain on California HWY 101 Was a Newcomer! (11/6/2013)
Almost a month ago, a mountain lion trying to cross Hwy 101 near Liberty Canyon Road was struck and killed by an early morning commuter. Due to the Government shutdown, it was unknown at the time which of the dozen or so lions living in the Santa Monica Mountains had died. This small population of lions is being researched by the US National Park Service (NPS).

Recently obtained DNA results now show that the mountain lion killed was new to the Santa Monica Mountains.

According to the NPS, Santa Monica's mountain lions are isolated from the rest of California's lions because of freeways, mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. The potential for inbreeding within the small, separated population created by these obstructions makes it crucial for new lions to be able to safely cross into the area.

According to witnesses, the dead lion was found on the southbound side of the freeway and had tried to cross from the north. If this lion had successfully crossed the freeway and mated, he would have brought much-needed new genetic material to the region's lion population.
Photo of Santa Monica map showing where lion was killed.
For years, local wildlife advocates have lobbied for a wildlife corridor to be constructed at Liberty Canyon. "The fact that this young male chose to cross — unsuccessfully — at Liberty Canyon shows how critical this wildlife corridor is for maintaining genetic diversity in the Santa Monica Mountains. This section of the 101 Freeway is the ideal path into the Santa Monica Mountains because of the natural habitat on both sides of the freeway and the connections to large areas of open space," said Dr. Seth Riley, a researcher with the National Park Service studying mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Of more than 30 lions tracked during the decade-long National Park Service study, only one (P-12) is known to have successfully crossed Hwy 101. Caltrans has twice applied for federal transportation funding, but so far has failed to win approval for the projected $10 million construction project. Caltrans is expected to apply once again in early 2014.

Watch news coverage DNA Highlights Fragile Mountain Lion Population from Lucy Noland at NBC Los Angeles.

Read the 10/11/2013 story Government Shutdown Keeping the Public from Knowing Which Lion Died on LA's 101 Freeway

And for more information on the need for wildlife corridors in southern California, check out the feature article The Cougar Connection: Mountain Lions Lead the Way to Conservation Solutions by Nina Kidd.

(Article #1488) To read the actual news story click here...

Popular Santa Cruz Lion Killed (11/1/2013)
On May 16, 2013, a mountain lion in Santa Cruz, California became the center of national attention. While roaming near downtown, the lion jumped a chain-link fence and became trapped in a drainage aqueduct.

Local police, state Fish and Wildlife, and lion researchers from U.C. Santa Cruz all came together to rescue the lion. He was tranquilized, fitted with a tracking collar, and released into the nearby Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.

In June, researchers gave an update that the lion, now named 39M, was doing well. He appeared to be looking for an available territory and was feeding on deer and raccoons. He had even successfully crossed the treacherous Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains several times.

Unfortunately, on Halloween morning his luck ran out. While trying to cross Highway 17, 39M was stuck and killed by a vehicle. A pregnant female lion was also recently killed on that same stretch of road.
Photo of 39M in aqueduct in May.
Lions need wildlife crossings in order to survive on the urban edge. The Laurel Curve crossing point has been especially fatal for Santa Cruz's mountain lions. Caltrans recently improved the road to make it safer for drivers, including the installation of a large safety barrier between oncoming traffic. But construction work ultimately removed a large culvert that lions and other wildlife were using to safely pass under the highway.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Caltrans, mountain lion researchers, and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County are looking for ways to provide safer passages for wildlife in the region, and specifically Laurel Curve.

"It's not a fully developed project yet," Land Trust Executive Director Terry Corwin said. "We're working with Caltrans, and we'll be buying a property near Laurel Curve, with the intent of creating an underground passage."

The crossing will come too late for 39M, but hopefully someday soon, lions will be able to safely pass back and forth under Highway 17.
(Article #1487) To read the actual news story click here...

Starving Mountain Lion Kitten Found by San Jose Family (10/28/2013)
On October 19th, a San Jose family, living in a subdivision near Alum Rock Park, awoke to a find a piece of California's wildlife heritage—a mountain lion kitten—hiding in their backyard.

For several of the previous nights, neighborhood dogs had been upset and barking at some kind of disturbance, but no one could figure out what was setting them off. When their own dogs started a new row Saturday morning the family decided to investigate. Their search uncovered a small, frail looking mountain lion kitten hiding in their backyard and too weak to escape over a three-foot tall retaining wall.

The family corralled the lion kitten with a folding dog pen fence and contacted the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley. Responding California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wardens took the kitten to the Wildlife Center for evaluation.

The lion kitten, estimated at 3-months old, was found to be severely dehydrated, anemic, and emaciated. After a few days care, the rescued kitten was transferred to CDFW's Wildlife Investigation Laboratory, near Sacramento.

It's been surmised that this is the same mountain lion kitten, reportedly spotted in several different nearby locations since October 9th.

While this particular case appears to be extraordinary, in normal situations, mountain lion kittens are often left on their own while their mother hunts for food. So it shouldn't be automatically assumed that lion kittens have been abandoned, and in need of rescue just because their mother is not in sight.

In California, mountain lions are classified as a "specially protected" species and under state law, may not be taken, possessed or transported without authorization from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The eventual fate of this young lion is not known at this time. The recent passage of Senate Bill 132 might allow for its rehabilitation and eventual release back into the wild once it is older and can fend for its self.
(Article #1486) To read the actual news story click here...

Another Confirmed Lion Sighting in Iowa (10/21/2013)
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has confirmed a picture taken by a trail camera in Madison County is that of a mountain lion.

The photo was taken on October 13th, just before 7:00 p.m., on a farm about 10 miles north of Winterset, in rural Madison County, Iowa.

According to the IDNR, of the more than 1,000 mountain lion sightings that have been reported since the year 2000, 95 percent were a case of mistaken identity — such as bobcats or dogs that share the same coloring.

Trail cam photo of lion in Iowa.IDNR also stated that three mountain lions have been confirmed killed in Iowa since August 2001. One of those was found in a Des Moines neighborhood in 2012.

According to IDNR's mountain lion brochure, "Mountain lions have no legal wildlife status in Iowa. That means that they can be taken and possessed by anyone at anytime as long as legal methods and means are used to take the animal. Mountain lions and black bears are not listed in the Iowa Code as designated wildlife species, because they were extirpated before fish and game legislation became prominent. The pioneers did not see their presence of any value to their own way of life, so basically persecution by humans brought their demise."

Help the Mountain Lion Foundation protect lions that wander into the Midwest by donating to our special Midwestern Mountain Lion Defense Fund. (Article #1485) To read the actual news story click here...

Big Game Hunter Pays $13,500 to Participate in Nebraska's First Ever Exclusive Lion Hunt (10/17/2013)
Spouting the standard propaganda about hunters being the biggest conservationists, Tom Ferry, of Ponca, Nebraska, paid $13,500 to become the winning bidder of one of the first two mountain lion permits issued by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Mr. Ferry, a Big Game Hunter, has killed animals for sport in Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, and across the United States. He has approximately 150 trophy mounts commemorating his exploits at his home including those of mountain lions killed in Arizona and Utah.

"I just thought it would be nice to hunt mountain lions in Nebraska during the state's first season," Ferry said.

Ferry will be one of only two people permitted to hunt cougars during Nebraska's first lion hunting season (January 1st through February 14th) in the Pine Ridge Hunting Unit. Last week, 15-year-old Holden Bruce of Franklin, Nebraska, was selected in a drawing for the other permit. Both hunters will be allowed to hunt with dogs.

The auction, held Wednesday night at a special Nebraska Big Game Society function, reflected the small participant turnout experienced in last week's statewide lion hunting lottery with only 70 bidders.

Before the auction, Nebraska Game and Parks Director, Jim Douglas, also presented former State Senator LeRoy Louden, who shepherded Nebraska's lion hunting bill through the Legislature, with an honorary mountain lion hunting permit so he can accompany the remaining 99 lottery winners when they commence their hunt during Nebraska's second lion hunting season (February 15th through March 31st).

Game and Parks officials say the objective for allowing mountain lion hunting is to provide hunters opportunities while allowing a slight to moderate reduction in mountain lion population.

Mr. Ferry seemed to sum up the Department's draconian position towards Nebraska's wildlife. "They have a saying in Africa," he said. "And it's true here, too: If it doesn't pay, it doesn't stay."
(Article #1482) To read the actual news story click here...

Government Shutdown Keeping the Public from Knowing Which Lion Died on LA's 101 Freeway (10/11/2013)
The carcass of a mountain lion was found by a passing motorist Monday morning alongside the 101 freeway in Agoura Hills near the Liberty Canyon Road exit. This area, a natural but dangerous wildlife crossing, is used by animals moving between the Santa Monica Mountains to the south and the Simi Hills to the north.

Long time research in the area has identified a resident mountain lion population of as many as 10 to 12 animals. During a recent lecture, National Park Service (NPS) wildlife ecologist Dr. Seth Riley said the NPS is currently tracking seven mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills; three who live south of the 101 Freeway, two in the Simi Hills and one in Griffith Park.

Unfortunately, due to the current government shutdown, Dr. Riley and his fellow NPS lion researchers are now unavailable to determine which of their precious specimens is missing.

NPS researchers previously announced that they knew of only one mountain lion to successfully cross the 101 freeway, a male designated as P-12 who headed into the Santa Monica Mountains where he mated with at least two female lions in the range and produced six kittens.

P-12's last reported position was still in the Santa Monica Mountains. According to one motorist that viewed the dead lion, it did not appear to have a tracking collar around its neck.

(Article #1467) To read the actual news story click here...

Low Number of Applicants Proves Nebraska Lion Hunt Isn't the Will of the People (10/9/2013)
Though promoted as a once in a lifetime event and offered at the dirt-cheap price of $15, only 395 Nebraskans applied for that state's first ever mountain lion hunt before the September 30th lottery deadline.

"I thought there would be more," said Pat Cole, budget fiscal administrator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Based on the experience of other states, similar hunts have drawn about 1,000 applicants.

Nobody is saying it yet, but such a poor response might be indicative of the fact that this particular hunt is being forced on the citizens of Nebraska by an out of touch game commission, and its loud, but limited constituency of trophy hunters.

In a sick display of elitism, Nebraska's inaugural Pine Ridge lion hunt will be restricted to two hunters; a "lucky" lottery winner, and the "Big Bucks" winner of a special permit auctioned off by the Nebraska Big Game Society. In an effort to justify that action, proceeds from the auction will be given to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission supposedly for mountain lion conservation, management and research.

Pine Ridge's inaugural season will go from January 1 through February 14th, or when two males or one female lion is killed. The hunt area's second season with an additional 100 lottery winners will commence on February 15th, and end on March 31st, or when two males or one female lion is killed.

The Prairie Unit, which covers about 85 percent of Nebraska, will open its lion hunting season on January 1st. It will run through the end of the year, with no restriction on the number of hunters, and lions killed in this hunt area will not be counted against the quota.

Mountain lions were extirpated from Nebraska in 1890. There's been no recorded incident in Nebraska where a mountain lion has threatened, or attacked any person, pet or livestock since the species' return to the state in 1991.
(Article #1466) To read the actual news story click here...

Governor's Review of South Dakota's State Game Agency Released (10/8/2013)
The findings of an independent review of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Park's (SDGFP) Big Game Management Program were released to the public Thursday afternoon. The section pertaining to the Department's management of mountain lions held few surprises. It discusses the general aspects of SDGFP's mountain lion management plan, and compares it to those from other states. The report also noted that SDGFP was following the plan's goals and objectives.

However, the reviewers did not comment on whether or not South Dakota's mountain lion management plan was flawed, nor does it mention the many technical errors and mistaken assumptions that were brought up by the plan's critics. Furthermore, the goals SDGFP is supposedly following ("to monitor and maintain mountain lion populations and habitats consistent with ecological, social, aesthetics and economic values of Dakota citizens while addressing the concerns and issues of both residents and visitors of South Dakota.") are so vague it is hard to consider them as objective metrics.
Mountain lion section excerpt.
Reviewers did note the flaw in SDGFP's lion research process which has links back to the plan's validity question. According to the report. ". . . . the Department is entirely dependent on a single researcher at SDSU to provide outside support. While this has the advantage of building on a long history and experience with lion research, it also leaves the Department vulnerable to criticism about the breadth of its research capacity . . . ."

The report also reiterated the Department's objective to reduce the post-2014 hunting season in the Black Hills lion population to 150 animals, but it fails to clarify if that number includes kittens unable to survive on their own.

Taken in all, the report basically says that the SDGFP is doing a good job of following its own goals and objectives but falls silent on their merits.

Click here to read the full report, or click the icon to read just the mountain lion section.
(Article #1465) To read the actual news story click here...

South Dakota Sets its 2014 Lion Hunting Quotas (10/4/2013)
Despite arguments by conservationists that South Dakota's local mountain population was struggling from years of over hunting, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission set the 2014 lion hunting quota Thursday at 50 females or 75 total lions for the Black Hills hunting region.

The Black Hills' lion hunting season would close on March 31st or the day after one of those limits is reached.

South Dakota's "Prairie" hunting season will remain open year-round and its numbers will not be considered as a deterring factor in closing South Dakota's lion hunting season. Six mountain lions — young dispersing males — have been killed in South Dakota's Prairie hunting region so far this year.

With a statewide population of approximately 200 lions, allowing hunters to annually kill 50 to 75 causes a huge disruption in the natural balance of the lion population.

In addition, another 25 lions are typically killed each year for depredation, public safety, roadkill and poaching.

Annually killing half of the lion population is far from sustainable, and it significantly reduces the recovery of the species in surrounding midwest and prairie states. (Article #1464) To read the actual news story click here...

Lion Spotted Along Missouri River (10/2/2013)
The US Army Corp of Engineers recently posted a photograph of a mountain lion taken at night on a trail camera placed near the Oahe Dam in South Dakota. This structure is located on the Missouri River just north of the state capital of Pierre.

The Missouri River roughly cuts South Dakota in half and is in the middle of what is referred to as the "prairie" hunting district. The prairie hunting district has a year-round, no limit hunting season on mountain lions. Lions killed in this hunting district are not counted towards the state's annual hunting quota which is going to be determined at tomorrow's game commission hearing in Spearfish.

Since the beginning of this year six male lions, young adults dispersing from their mothers in the Black Hills, have be killed.

Trail cam photo of lion near Oahe Dam South Dakota - US Army Corp of Engineers.
(Article #1463) To read the actual news story click here...

13th Florida Panther Killed by Motor Vehicle This Year (9/23/2013)
Since the mid-1970s, millions of dollars have been spent trying to save and recover the faltering mountain lion population in Florida.

Known locally as the Florida Panther, this isolated remnant of the far ranging species — best estimates place it at 100 to 160 lions — is trapped in the southwestern tip of the state.

Decades of effort on the part of state and federal agencies and NGOs could pay off with a healthy, sustainable population if only so many weren't killed every year by speeding automobiles.

Photo of remaining panther habitat it southwest Florida.Last Friday marked the 13th such fatal incident this year with the death of a 4-year-old male panther in Collier County.

According to wildlife officials, the panther did not die immediately at the scene of the accident.

The cat was rushed to a wildlife care facility where it received emergency care, but later died from its injuries.

Out of the 16 known panther deaths so far this year, 13 have been the result of automobile accidents.

In the last ten years, more than 125 panthers have been road-killed in Florida. This is the leading cause of death for the endangered felines, followed by interactions with other lions.

Panthers, especially adult males, will kill other cats to defend their territory. With development on the rise, habitat loss and interactions will continue to threaten the long-term survival of the Florida panther.

(Article #1462) To read the actual news story click here...

Two Orphaned Lions Tragically Killed in Colorado (9/13/2013)
Last Sunday, in a tragic example of the dangers facing orphaned mountain lions kittens, a USDA Wildlife Service agent shot and killed two sub-adult lions near a KOA campground about four miles north of Ouray, Colorado.

The young littermates, orphaned last fall when their mother was hit by a car, were killed for preying on a 48-year-old pet hinny (a cross between a pony and a burro) that was kept, along with two miniature burros, in a corral designed to keep livestock in, not keep predators out.

Identification tags on the dead lions revealed they were the malnourished cubs trapped last fall and taken to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife's (CPW) Frisco Creek wildlife facility. The facility, which concentrates on rehabilitating carnivores, raised the two lions in a large cage, with limited exposure to humans. While in captivity, their primary food source was road kill along with the occasional live rabbit, to hone their hunting skills.
Photo of two subadult mountain lions.
The young lions were released into their home area in Ouray County about a month ago. CPW commonly releases rehabilitated animals within 10 miles of where they were originally found — "in an area they perhaps have some memory of, some familiarity with," CPW Southwest Region Public Information Officer Joe Lewandowski explained. "You don't want to put lions in a new area, because other lions have already carved out their territory."

"It's not an exact science," he added in reference to CPW's rehabilitation program for mountain lions, "but it's what we have done for years and generally it works well." Nonetheless, he observed, "We live in an area where we have wildlife and where we have predators. Most people understand that's the world we live in, here in western Colorado."

"Obviously, these guys just chose the wrong meal, and went after livestock," Del Piccolo added. "We actually have fairly good luck raising orphaned cubs, and they generally don't get into trouble again, but these guys did, and they did really quickly."

Recent scientific research has found that young sub-adult lions, and especially orphaned kittens, are most likely to prey on domestic livestock. One explanation is their lack of training and inexperience in hunting wild prey.
(Article #1461) To read the actual news story click here...

Wild Things Film Screening in Santa Rosa (9/12/2013)
The Mountain Lion Foundation invites you to a FREE screening of the documentary Wild Things.

This 38-minute film introduces audiences to progressive ranchers learning to coexist with native carnivores. The film will be followed by a panel discussion of wildlife experts and predator friendly ranchers.

When: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
6:30 reception
7:00 film screening, followed by a panel discussion

Where: Person Auditorium, Finley Community Center
2060 West College Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401


More about the Wild Things Documentary:
Many ranchers are rejecting the old practice of killing large carnivores to protect livestock. Instead, they are increasingly using new technology and old methods of animal husbandry to coexist with carnivores.

Native carnivores bring balance to the landscape and keep ecosystems healthy. But they can also be seen as a threat to livestock, and for decades government trappers have killed them in large numbers. The U.S.D.A.'s Wildlife Services program kills tens of thousands of native carnivores annually, often at the demand of the ranching industry. It is a battle against nature that is costly, brutal, and not very effective. Does the battle really need to be fought? Wild Things introduces audiences to progressive ranchers learning to coexist with these animals and features scientists, conservationists and even former Wildlife Services trappers, who believe it is time for a major change in the way we treat our magnificent native carnivores.

(Article #1460) To read the actual news story click here...

Three New California Mountain Lion Research Projects (9/11/2013)
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently started the 30-day public comment period on three proposed mountain lion research projects.

The first, known as the "Santa Cruz Puma Project" will evaluate the relationship between landscape features, energetic demand, physiological capabilities, and foraging strategies of the mountain lion. For the first time, field energetic costs of a large carnivorous felid will be measured and related to the behavior and ecology of individual animals.

The second project, titled, "Intent to collar and monitor mountain lions in the Kings River Area of the Sierra National Forest," is principally intended to determine whether the movement patterns of regional mountain lions and fishers intersect, and to generate a risk-based habitat model for fishers based on that data.

The third, referred to as the "East Bay Puma Project," will use a combination of "intensive field tracking, remote cameras, lightweight GPS collars, GIS spatial modeling, and advanced genetics," to study mountain lions on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay. Project proponents will use the gathered data to, among other things, determine the genetic health of the local lion population and identify movement barriers.

The public comment period for the first research project ends October 3rd, 2013. The other two projects end their comment period on October 6th, 2013. An executive summary of each project may be found on MLF's website at:

Copies of the draft Mountain Lion Scientific Collection Permits are available upon request to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Branch. 1812 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95811.
(Article #1459) To read the actual news story click here...

Another "Treed" Lion is Killed by Police (9/9/2013)
At the same time Friday Californian's were celebrating the passage of Senate Bill 132 — a mountain lion protection measure that requires the use of nonlethal procedures when dealing with wayward lions that don't pose an imminent threat to humans — Sheridan, Wyoming police were demonstrating why this landmark law is needed throughout our nation.

The unfortunate lion in question was first spotted in a vacated alley in a residential section of town. Subsequent containment activities by the Sheridan Police Department led to the mountain lion being treed, and later killed.

Information has not been made available to the public as to the age, sex or physical condition of the animal nor why first responders felt it necessary to shoot rather than haze or relocate.
(Article #1458) To read the actual news story click here...

No More Unnecessary Killings! (9/6/2013)
Landmark lion protection legislation passed today when California Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 132. This is a first of its kind piece of legislation built on decades of scientific knowledge to define what exactly "imminent threat to public health and safety" means in regards to mountain lions. The bill requires the use of nonlethal procedures for dealing with those lions that come into contact with humans, yet do not meet the threshold of imminent threat.

SB 132 also gives the California Department of Fish and Wildlife the authority to partner with qualified individuals and NGOs to assist them in carrying out these new duties.

Click here to learn more about SB 132.

Share your comments with our Facebook community.
(Article #1454) To read the actual news story click here...

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Comment Period for Designating Critical Habitat for Jaguars (9/3/2013)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has reopened the comment period on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the Jaguar (Panthera onca) under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

The additional comment period is in response to multiple requests for an extension to the comment period that ended on August 9.

The USFWS is soliciting new comments through September 13, 2013. Previously submitted comments need not be resubmitted.

For more information on the proposed rule, maps, supporting analysis and other details about the jaguar visit:
Photo of jaguar walking away in grass.
To submit comments online, go to:!submitComment;D=FWS-R2-ES-2012-0042-0259

Or comment letters can be mailed to:
Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2012-0042
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203
(Article #1453) To read the actual news story click here...

Rare Sighting of a Lion Along LA Highway (8/30/2013)
Last Sunday, some lucky Los Angeles motorists were given the opportunity to view a very rare sight. A mountain lion, known to National Park Service (NPS) researchers as P-23, was spotted killing a deer alongside the Mulholland Highway in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area.

The incident, captured on film by Motorcyclist Irv Nilsen, shows P-23 straddling her downed prey just before she drags it off into the brush to eat.

P-23, a young female who just recently left her mother, is just one of 22 mountain lions outfitted with GPS tracking collars that the National Park Service has been monitoring since 2002 to better understand how human development and urbanization is impacting the large cats.

According to NPS researchers, P-23's home range in the Santa Monica Mountains is not significantly different from other lions that live in areas with little or no urban development. The typical territory for these adult male lions averages about 200 square miles and 75 square miles for adult females.

Since trophy hunting of mountain lions was banned 23-years-ago in California with the passage of Proposition 117, the biggest threat to mountain lions in that state now is the loss and fragmentation of habitat by roads and urban development. Two major freeways slice through the Santa Monica mountain range (the 405 and the 101) creating isolated islands of habitat that are almost impossible to escape from. Rodenticides — rat poisons — also threaten these urban edge lions, who feed on poisoned rodents or other animals that have ingested said toxic creatures.


For more information, visit the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area's Facebook page.
(Article #1452) To read the actual news story click here...

No Room for Lions in Pennsylvania (8/28/2013)
Earlier this week, representatives of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the state Fish and Boat Commission and the Sierra Club, testified against pending legislation at a joint public hearing on a proposed reduction in state environmental regulations on industry.

The considered legislation, House Bill 1576, would supposedly "standardize" the state process for designating species of fish, wildlife or plants as endangered or threatened, and for designating waterways as wild trout streams.

According to the hearing's chair, Representative Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint, HB 1576 would "balance" the protection of endangered species in Pennsylvania "against excessive government regulation."

"We can't run jobs and business out of the state just because species are threatened with extinction," stated Representative Causer.

State Representative Steve McCarter went on record opposing the rest of the legislators hearing testimony arguing that additional oversight would make the process too lengthy and "shifts analysis to non-experts."

"It puts it to an IRRC process that is another set of eyes, but not experts, then potentially to the House and Senate ... we aren't scientists or experts," McCarter stated. "There are species in dramatic situations — 99 percent of some are gone already and still haven't made it on a list."

"This could push us back to a time before Teddy Roosevelt when the robber barons made the decisions for us," he added.

Pennsylvania Game Commission press secretary Travis Lau stated that the agency is on record opposing the HB 1576 for a number of reasons. "If the bill were to go through, it would leave endangered and threatened species more vulnerable."
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However, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, while touting the need for wildlife diversity, also apparently believes that said diversity should only go so far.

"Wildlife diversity is important to any species, including humans," Lau said. "However, species like eastern cougar will never be welcomed back. They are native, but they were eliminated for a reason. There's really no room in Pennsylvania for them anymore."

Based on those statements it makes one wonder exactly how committed to the protection of Pennsylvania's endangered species the Game Commission really is.
(Article #1451) To read the actual news story click here...

Californa Senate Bill 132 Passes Out of the State Legislature (8/26/2013)
Senate Bill 132 has passed out of the California Legislature today with a 35 to 2 vote on the Senate floor.

By requiring the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to utilize non-lethal capture procedures for mountain lions which pose no actual threat to humans, SB 132 codifies the growing public contention in California that lions shouldn't be killed just because they've come into contact with humans. The bill also provides CDFW with the authorization to partner with qualified individuals and NGOs who might be able to assist the Department in carrying out its new "non-lethal" duties.

Senate Bill 132 will now go to the Governor for signing into law. We need your help to urge Governor Brown to sign this bill. Please visit our SB 132 page for more information.
(Article #1450) To read the actual news story click here...

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