SACRAMENTO — Mountain lions that kill pets and livestock in Southern California will no longer be automatically targeted for death.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is changing the policy that granted ranchers and others automatic depredation permits for marauding cats. Now, applicants must first try non-lethal methods to scare away or keep out the offending cougar, the Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.
A permit would be issued only after two non-lethal attempts.
The policy applies to the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountain ranges in Southern California, where small and genetically isolated populations of cougars are hemmed in by freeways and are at risk of dying out.
California issues more than 200 depredation permits a year, although typically fewer than half result in kills, the Bee reported. However in the Santa Ana ranges, a 13-year study showed that more than a quarter of the cougars were killed from depredation permits, the paper said.