Depredation permits for mountain lions and other species

Today it was reported that one of our local mountain lions was killed as a result of a depredation permit taken out by a local family who lost sheep to this animal. It’s heartbreaking as the mountain lions here in Southern California and particularly the Santa Monica Mountains are in severe decline and suffering from inbreeding. Here’s a link to an article about it:

I wish there was something we could do to stop this as I know there are many places in the U.S. and I’m sure in other countries where this is permitted. It’s bad enough we take away their habitat but killing them when they are threatened is so sad.

Anyway, I just wanted to post this and see if others have any opinions or ideas on how we can make things safer for wildlife. Are there organizations who are fighting the depredation rules?


You’re right, thats terrible

Some work on protecting lions in Sonoma County. Living With Lions program via Audubon Canyon Ranch. Worth a look

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Thanks for that info!

The state government should make available funds to allow those who breed sheeps and other animals to build a fence so there would not be any necessity of killing protected wild animals.

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I’m not certain there are many types of fence that would keep out a mountain lion… but subsidizing loss due to predation sounds like a good idea.


These folks do great work on the issue, including advocacy, education, and working through solutions with depredation permit holders

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Cape Town has similar issues with baboons. Permits are issued and male baboons who raid unsecured waste … are euthanased. Instead of enforcing municipal regulations to secure waste if you live in the territory of wild baboons. The problem animal is not the baboon.

Also Cape leopards. Anatolian sheepdogs are used to protect flocks.


Yea that sucks. Seems like it shouldn’t be the mountain lion’s problem that someone decided to have a bunch of unsecured sheep in that particular spot.

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I’ve heard of systems like that in Europe where wolves are starting to come back and occasionally kill livestock.

It appears that they are inbreeding because it is a closed population. This won’t be remedied by stopping the issue of depredation permits, unfortunately. The threat is urban sprawl, and that threat is far, far more severe than that of depredation culling. Urban sprawl won’t stop or decline as long as Homo sapiens continues to reproduce at its current rate. Anything beyond limiting urban sprawl and rural population growth is nothing but a temporary bandaid. Sorry to be pessimistic!


It’s not pessimistic if it goes to the heart of the problem!


well, suburban sprawl isn’t necessarily linked to overall human population, in that area in particular developers have cashed in on cheap ranchland and converted to large expensive suburbs (without sufficient water for the people there). There’s more to the story than that but the bottom line is, we could have our current population or higher and still have connectivty between the Santa Monica Mountains and other habitat. We ‘chose’ not to by allowing the developers to set the agenda. But yes, habitat loss, rather than shooting one mountain lion that was eating sheep, is the main issue there.

The whole ‘overpopulation’ issue is fraught with a bunch of issues… at best, ‘overpopulation’ is a symptom of other issues, at worst, it’s… much worse. I will leave it at this for now lest I drive this post way off topic: if we fix the other deeper problems, human population will likely decline over time for a long time anyway.


Basically, it all boils down to this - farmers (and pet owners) vote, and the wild animals do not. There is little political will to address the issue. Here in Manitoba we have a similar situation, although it usually does not involve ‘endangered’ species. Some dog gets killed by coyotes, wolves or black bears, and it makes headlines (in spite of the fact that often the said pet is loose in the Boreal forest). A farmer loses a cow/calf to wolves, and everyone wants to bring back a bounty to get rid of them. As someone mentioned above, a compensation program should help, But ultimately, placating cottagers and farmers gathers more votes than preserving wild animals.
Now this is a cynical comment.


Well stated @charlie…thanks for the clarification!

As Charlie said, there are many, many more problems than just depredation. The extremely fragmented habitat is probably the biggest issue but we’ve lost mountain lions over the last year to a major wildfire, rat poison, cars and now this. Poor P-22, the iconic lion that lives in Griffith Park is a breeding male but he’s trapped in an island of habitat where it is very difficult for another lion to come or for him to leave.

What is somewhat aggravating about the people who lose animals to mountain lions in this area, is that most of them own these animals as a hobby. It costs millions of dollars to be able to afford to live in the Santa Monica mountains. If the animals were their sole means of living I might be a bit more sympathetic, though I can never really justify killing a wild animal for doing what comes naturally.

Today it was reported that some local council members are introducing a bill to outlaw depredation permits…we shall see where that goes.


Managing problem animals in Hermanus.
Took the new management team only 3 months to euthanase 3 ‘rogue’ baboons. Basically picking the troop off, one by one.

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Pets and livestock are seen by many as members of their family. It’s not reasonable to expect people to allow members of their families to be killed without trying to protect them. People that live in suburbs, or rural areas, are not bad people for wanting to protect their family. It’s important to put yourself in someone elses shoes before judging them. Too much judging goes on in today’s world.
There will always be animal/human conflict when two apex predators collide. Big picture, the solution is protecting more habitat from human settlement, and that won’t be areas near urban sprawl. Those areas are just destined to have less wildlife, especially apex predators.
I see millions wasted every day on highly political issues around protecting the environment in subdivisions, cities, and other areas occupied by large human populations. If every one of those dollars, and the time and effort fighting those issues, were put into buying and protecting more land, it would be money better spent in my opinion.
I worked very briefly for the Nature Conservancy 25 years ago. Although I didn’t enjoy working for them much, the one thing that made a great impression on me that still lasts to this day, is the core mission of buying and protecting acreage. “Putting your money where your mouth is” is their strong suit, and I wish more people did this. Once the land is bought, there’s not much anyone can do to reverse it. That’s the American way.

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