The number of mountain lions in Southern California is dwindling, their population stands in the low hundreds and are at risk of extinction in as little as 12 years. Last January, after a legal shooting in Camarillo, it sparked an outrage among wildlife conservationist and petitioned for the placement of the mountain lion on the Endangered Species List.
These cougars have been facing an extinction vortex due to the habitat loss and lack of wildlife connectivity. The Center for Biological Diversity’s attorney, J.P. Rose, is one of many wildlife advocates speaking on behalf of these shunned creatures.
The Californian Department of Fish and Wildlife is being urged to approve the petition. Last year, a four year mountain lion, P-56, was legally trapped and shot to death after livestock owners were issued a depredation permit by the state. This male Puma concolor, was one of two collared breeding males left in the Santa Monica Mountains. The collar was a part of a research by biologist, however, due to the lion killing 12 sheep, that cost him his life.
By mandating education to livestock owners and in cougar country house areas, there can be a better understanding about why these top predators need to be preserve. These felines are an important natural force that helps balance prey. By helping to control the herbivores, Mountain Lions indirectly influence vegetation communities. Mountain lions hunt at night, but there are some chances of seeing them in the daylight.
The Mountain Lion Foundation website has more information about strategies in protecting, people, pets and livestock.
The application of science can educate about coexisting with these predators and how both cougars and humans can live in a sustainable biodiversity.
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