MLF has assisted pet and livestock owners all over the county with building lion-proof small livestock enclosures. This simple measure of building a pen (many are completed in a day) and tucking animals safely inside at night, helps keep both domestic and wild animals safe. The following pens have been used to protect, goats, sheep, pigs and pet dogs. Over the years, thousands of blue prints and assembly directions have been downloaded from the MLF website. To learn more about how to build one, click here And if you've already built one, please contact us to have your story and photos added to the scrap book.
Wolf Creek and Indian Valley 4-H Club members and the Mountain Lion Foundation celebrated 4-H's 100th birthday by completing the first livestock pen designed specifically to protect goats and other small domestic animals from mountain lions. The enclosure, built for the Howe family's goats, is part of a demonstration project designed by the Mountain Lion Foundation to help humans and mountain lions be better neighbors. "I'm glad our goats Lady and Mr. Freeze will be safe from lions," said Shelby Howe, a 10-year-old 4-H member. "I like mountain lions - I just don't want to feed them." Shelby presented his 4-H project focusing on safeguarding goats from mountain lions at the Plumas County Fair.
Jessica and Nathan's goats no longer have to worry about the female lion that repeatedly guides her kittens down Wolf Creek, between their two backyards, across a busy highway and through the trailer court across the street. Every year parents and the local Fish and Game Warden advise elementary children to be aware of the mother lion and her kittens, who frequent the creek which runs below the Main Street bridge and through town. Most children in the area will tell you they know just what to do when they see one.
While eating breakfast one morning, the Jorrick family noticed a mountain lion lounging in the tree just outside their kitchen window, not far from their unprotected goats. The Jorrick's property was home to more than a dozen Jenny Lind 4-H club members' project pygmy goats. The club then decided it was time to build a lion-proof small livestock enclosure to protect their animals. With a little help from MLF, the goats are now safe and sound in their pen at night.
When invited to participate in the MLF Living with Lions Ranchers' Assistance Program, the Felton 4-H Club was eager to join this pro-active movement. This program provides groups with knowledge and understanding to make responsible decisions in their livestock management, and also includes a one-day workshop to build a predator-proof small livestock enclosure. Although their livestock had not suffered from mountain lion depredation, over the years there had been many mountain lion sightings in the surrounding San Lorenzo Valley.
Shelby Howe, whose goats were the recipient of Mountain Lion Foundation's very first pen, continues to spread the word about their efficacy. In 2005, Shelby won an award for his exhibit at the Plumas County Fair which showed the steps to take BEFORE getting a goat.
Even when it is not possible to know how many lions still roam because of these efforts, MLF will work with communities to build not just lion proof pens but to build a future for lions in the rural West. Local residents continue to raise the bar for best management practices.
Pat and George Copa love their rare and valuable Pygoras, but still appreciate the wild predators that live just outside their Verdant Vistas farm in Oregon. The solution to keeping their Pygoras (Pygmy-Angora crossbreeds) safe and living peacefully with coyotes and mountain lions: an MLF-designed predator-proof pen. The first one in Oregon, too! During the day, the animals roam the yard with their guard llamas but from dusk 'til dawn they are secured in the new pen. MLF sponsored the build to serve as a demonstration for locals in this rural area, but plans are available for free at mountainlion.org and can be built for around $500 with supplies from your local hardware store
In a note to MLF, Janice wrote: "A couple of years ago, my friend Cathy said that you had published the plans for the lion proof goat enclosure. I had lost all of my goats to a lion several years prior, and had decided that I could no longer have goats because of the risk of losing them. I was thrilled to think that I could once again have pet goats and that they would be safe. As you can see we made some changes to your plan. Our goat fort is 18'x24' and has an area to store hay and other goat things. I have been very happy with our goat fort and my goats seem to be happy too. ~ Janice"
During the Farm Walk event, Canoga Park High School FFA volunteers built this livestock pen at Pierce College. Due to heavy development in southern California, mountain lion habitat in the region has become mostly isolated patches. Learning to coexist with wildlife and protect their dispersal corridors is especially important. MLF Southern California Field Representative, Christa Kermode, along with all the other hard workers display their pen for the locals. Nice work everyone!
In South Dakota, volunteers work with MLF and the Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation to create a predator proof enclosure for fiber goats and sheep. In addition to the pen, volunteers also retrofitted an adjacent barn to house livestock safe from cougars, coyotes and pet dogs. A chain link fence and secure roof are key!
Residents in South Dakota do not have to protect their animals from wildlife, and can kill any mountain lion that wanders through their property. These two buildings will show the community there are easy was to coexist, and killing a lion is not necessary.
Not even Tropical Storm Barry could dampen the enthusiasm of these predator proof pen builders in Naples, Florida - although the downpours certainly dampened pretty much everything else! At one point, the wind was so strong, the crew decided to hold off putting the roof tarp on until the storm had passed. Regardless, the local volunteers finished two pens on Saturday and now Rege and Al are keeping their goats safe. Just down the road, Rebecca is protecting her canine companions. Due to excellent media coverage, people all over the region now have access to MLF's easy instructions for building their own pens.
The day after the two builds in Naples, most of the crew came back to brave the steaming heat while building a demonstration pen at the Collier County Extension! All told, County Commissioner Henry Coletta, along with volunteers from the Mountain Lion Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Collier County Extension Service and Friends of the Panther Refuge joined 4-H kids and families for an educational, fun and animal-friendly weekend. Special thanks for the Florida office of Defenders of Wildlife for organizing and sponsoring the event to Protect People, Pets, Livestock and the federally endangered Florida Panthers!