Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Following the lawful killing of one of our few remaining male mountain lions, P-56, in the western Santa Monica Mountains, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl sent a letter to the Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Charlton H. Bonham. The C.D.F.W approved the issuance of a depredation permit to the rancher who killed P-56 after the animal attacked his livestock. Without the agency’s blessing, killing a mountain lion in California is a misdemeanor.

There has been significant public investment in Los Angeles County and beyond to create open space for mountain lion habitats. These big cats in the Santa Monica Mountains have been part of an ongoing study for the past eighteen years, and P-56 was one of just two collared male mountain lions in the region. His death is particularly devastating given the area’s dwindling mountain lion population.

In her letter, Supervisor Kuehl wrote, “it is unfortunate that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife did not consult partner agencies to help dissuade the landowner from taking deadly force before issuing the depredation permit.”

In 2016, state authorities issued a depredation permit on a different mountain lion, P-45. Local agencies and wildlife activists persuaded the landowner not to kill the animal, and they helped forge a solution that both spared the mountain lion and helped protect the rancher’s livestock. This collaboration represented the constructive way that residents, nonprofits, activists, and local governments can work together to forge a common-sense solution that is a win-win for both wildlife and ranchers.

To learn more about P-56’s death, click here.