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Proposition 117

On June 5, 1990 the voters of California approved Proposition 117, the California Wildlife Protection Act. The Act accomplished two things. It prohibited the sport hunting of the California Mountain Lion, and it required that California spend no less than $30 million a year on wildlife habitat protection.

Prop 117 became California Fish and Game Code Sections 4800-4809.

Since 1990, four changes have made to the law. In 1999, AB 560 amended Section 4801 to allow lions to be killed to protect endangered sheep. In 2011, SB 769 amended Section 4800 to allow deceased lions to be used for educational purposes.

Section 4810 was added in 2012 (via AB 1784) to authorize humane mountain lion research and transparency. Section 4801.5 was added by Senate Bill 132 in 2013, requiring nonlethal measures to be used to resolve public safety situations when a lion is not acting aggressively.

Mountain Lion Laws in California

as of March 2014




California Code

Fish and Game Code

General Provisions and Definitions

Division 4: Birds and Mammals

Part 3: Mammals

Chapter 10: Mountain Lions


Sections: 4800-4810



4800.

(a) The mountain lion (genus Puma) is a specially protected mammal under the laws of this state.

(b) (1) It is unlawful to take, injure, possess, transport, import, or sell any mountain lion or any part or product thereof, except as specifically provided in this chapter or in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 2116) of Division 3.

(2) This chapter does not prohibit the sale or possession of any mountain lion or any part or product thereof, when the owner can demonstrate that the mountain lion, or part or product thereof, was in the person's possession on June 6, 1990.

(3) This chapter does not prohibit the possession of a mountain lion carcass or any part or product of a mountain lion carcass, if all of the following requirements are met:

(A) The carcass or carcass part or product is prepared or being prepared for display, exhibition, or storage, for a bona fide scientific or educational purpose, at a nonprofit museum or government-owned facility generally open to the public or at an educational institution, including a public or private postsecondary institution.

(B) The mountain lion was taken in California consistent with the requirements of this chapter and any other applicable law.

(C) The department has authorized the possession of the carcass or carcass part or product for the purposes of this paragraph.

(c) Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. An individual is not guilty of a violation of this section if it is demonstrated that, in taking or injuring a mountain lion, the individual was acting in self-defense or in defense of others.

(d) Section 219 does not apply to this chapter. Neither the commission nor the department shall adopt any regulation that conflicts with or supersedes any of the provisions of this chapter.


4801.

The department may remove or take any mountain lion, or authorize an appropriate local agency with public safety responsibility to remove or take any mountain lion, that is perceived to be an imminent threat to public health or safety or that is perceived by the department to be an imminent threat to the survival of any threatened, endangered, candidate, or fully protected sheep species.


4801.5.

(a) Unless authorized in this chapter, nonlethal procedures shall be used when removing or taking any mountain lion that has not been designated as an imminent threat to public health or safety.

(b) For purposes of this chapter, "imminent threat to public health or safety" means a situation where a mountain lion exhibits one or more aggressive behaviors directed toward a person that is not reasonably believed to be due to the presence of responders.

(c) For purposes of this chapter, "nonlethal procedures" means procedures that may include, but are not limited to, capturing, pursuing, anesthetizing, temporarily possessing, temporarily injuring, marking, attaching to or surgically implanting monitoring or recognition devices, providing veterinary care, transporting, hazing, rehabilitating, releasing, or taking no action.

(d) The department may, as the department determines is necessary to protect mountain lions or the public, authorize qualified individuals, educational institutions, governmental agencies, or nongovernmental organizations to implement nonlethal procedures on a mountain lion in accordance with subdivision (a).


4802.

Any person, or the employee or agent of a person, whose livestock or other property is being or has been injured, damaged, or destroyed by a mountain lion may report that fact to the department and request a permit to take the mountain lion.


4803.

Upon receipt of a report pursuant to Section 4802, the department, or any animal damage control officer specifically authorized by the department to carry out this responsibility, shall immediately take the action necessary to confirm that there has been depredation by a mountain lion as reported. The confirmation process shall be completed as quickly as possible, but in no event more than 48 hours after receiving the report. If satisfied that there has been depredation by a mountain lion as reported, the department shall promptly issue a permit to take the depredating mountain lion.


4804.

In order to ensure that only the depredating mountain lion will be taken, the department shall issue the permit pursuant to Section 4803 with the following conditions attached:

(a) The permit shall expire 10 days after issuance.

(b) The permit shall authorize the holder to begin pursuit not more than one mile from the depredation site.

(c) The permit shall limit the pursuit of the depredating mountain lion to within a 10-mile radius from the location of the reported damage or destruction.


4805.

Whenever immediate authorization will materially assist in the pursuit of the particular mountain lion believed to be responsible for the depredation reported pursuant to Section 4802, the department or the animal damage control officer may orally authorize the pursuit and taking of the depredating mountain lion, and the department shall issue a written permit for the period previously authorized as soon as practicable after the oral authorization.


4806.

Any person issued a permit pursuant to Section 4803 or 4805 shall report, by telephone within 24 hours, the capturing, injuring, or killing of any mountain lion to an office of the department or, if telephoning is not practicable, in writing within five days after the capturing, injuring, or killing of the mountain lion. At the time of making the report of the capturing, injuring, or killing, the holder of the permit shall make arrangements to turn over the mountain lion or the entire carcass of the mountain lion which has been recovered to a representative of the department and shall do so in a timely manner.


4807.

(a) Any mountain lion that is encountered while in the act of pursuing, inflicting injury to, or killing livestock, or domestic animals, may be taken immediately by the owner of the property or the owner's employee or agent. The taking shall be reported within 72 hours to the department. The department shall investigate the depredation, and, if the mountain lion was captured, injured, or killed, the mountain lion or the entire carcass of the mountain lion which has been recovered shall be turned over to the department. Upon satisfactorily completing the investigation and receiving the mountain lion or the carcass, if recovered, the department shall issue a permit confirming that the requirements of this section have been met with respect to the particular mountain lion taken under these circumstances.

(b) The department shall undertake a complete necropsy on any returned mountain lion carcass and report the findings to the commission. The commission shall compile the reported findings and prepare an annual written report that shall be submitted to the Legislature not later than the January 15 next following the year in which the mountain lion was taken.


4808.

As used in this chapter, "agent" means the agent or employee of the owner of the damaged or destroyed property, any county or city predator control officer, any employee of the Animal Damage Control Section of the United States Department of Agriculture, any departmental personnel, or any authorized or permitted houndsman registered with the department as possessing the requisite experience and having no prior conviction of any provision of this code or regulation adopted pursuant to this code. A plea of nolo contendere is a conviction for purposes of this section.


4809.

Mountain lions authorized to be taken pursuant to this chapter shall be taken by the most effective means available to take the mountain lion causing the damage or destruction, except that no mountain lion shall be taken by means of poison, leg-hold or metal-jawed traps, and snares.


4810.

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Authorized research project" means a research project involving mountain lions subject to a Scientific Collecting Permit issued in accordance with this section.

(2) "Permitholder" means a person to whom the department has issued a Scientific Collecting Permit in accordance with this section.

(3) "Scientific Collecting Permit" or "permit" means a permit issued pursuant to Section 1002 for a research project involving mountain lions in accordance with this section.

(b) The department may authorize qualified individuals, educational institutions, governmental agencies, or nongovernmental organizations to conduct scientific research involving mountain lions pursuant to a Scientific Collecting Permit as provided in Section 1002.

(c) The department may authorize permitholders to pursue, capture, temporarily possess, temporarily injure, mark, attach to or surgically implant monitoring or recognition devices in, provide veterinary care to, and transport, mountain lions, or any part or product of a mountain lion.

(d) In addition to the requirements in Section 1002, an authorized research project shall be designed to do the following:

(1) Contribute to the knowledge of natural wildlife ecosystems.

(2) Minimize disruptions in the lives and movements of mountain lions and other wildlife, as well as impacts to mountain lion or other wildlife habitat, while maintaining the permitholder's research objectives.

(3) Directly or indirectly support the sustainability and survival of mountain lion populations and healthy ecosystems.

(4) Prevent the permanent injury or killing of any mountain lion.

(e) An authorized research project shall be governed by the Scientific Collecting Permit. The permit shall include, at a minimum, proposed research methods and recordkeeping procedures that address the following:

(1) The capture of, anesthetization of, collection of diagnostic samples from, and transport of, mountain lions or parts and products thereof, and the attaching to or surgically implanting monitoring or recognization devices or markings in, and providing veterinary care as required for the health, safety, and humane treatment of, animals affected by the research project.

(2) The recording of the adverse effects of authorized research procedures on mountain lions and other wildlife.

(3) The qualifications of onsite personnel necessary for carrying out authorized research procedures. A permit applicant shall submit verifiable documentation demonstrating that at least one onsite staff person has at least one year of experience in proposed research methods that involve activities described in subdivision (c).

(4) Annual and final reports to the department.

(f) The department shall notify the public at least 30 days prior to the issuance of a permit, and, upon request, shall make available to the public copies of the permit and annual and final reports.

(g) The department shall handle any mortality or permanent injury to a mountain lion as a result of research authorized pursuant to this section in a manner consistent with the reporting and processing requirements imposed in Section 4807.