Sacramento, CA — California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officials say their new policy that allows for more non-lethal options, like scaring off the animal or relocation, is working. The new policy was adopted in February after an earlier incident where game wardens shot and killed two cubs under the porch of a home in Half Moon Bay.
“Sometimes you can find a mountain lion or bear in an unusual location otherwise behaving normally,” said CDFW Law Enforcement Chief Mike Carion. “It isn’t always a threat to public safety. Every situation is unique. We are pleased that this policy allows us to evaluate each situation carefully and to choose a solution which allows a co-existence between humans and wildlife while allowing discretion to act when there is a public safety issue.”
The CDFW has ordered field equipment to better deal the non-lethal handling of human and wildlife conflict calls since the new policy was implemented. The Department says they have had many incidents were non-lethal methods have been used. They cite an incident in Santa Cruz this past May where a lion fell into a culvert and was not able to get out. The lion was darted and later released in the Soquel Demonstration State Forest. Fish and Wildlife did not specify the number of mountain lion that have been killed since the new policy was put in place.
CDFW Officials believe there are between 4,000 and 6,000 mountain lions statewide. They say mountain lion attacks on humans are rare.