After Legislators Call for Urgent Action, State Officials Take Control of Depredation Process, Promise “All-Inclusive Strategy” on Mountain Lion Extinction Threat

Key Legislators Working with Newsom Administration to End Depredation of Endangered Species, Restrict Deadly Poisons and Build Wildlife Corridors

February 14, 2020

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has taken control of the statewide mountain lion depredation process and promised an “all-inclusive strategy” in response to a letter from the chairs of key environmental committees calling for a comprehensive solution to the Southern California mountain lion extinction crisis.

“P-56’s tragic death is a devastating blow to the survival of our mountain lions, and there must be accountability for his death. The path to extinction will not respect government processes and legislative timelines – the time to act is now, before we lose these noble creatures forever,” said Senator Stern. “I applaud CDFW for their swift action – but we need the public’s help if we’re going to solve the whole problem, from restricting deadly rodenticides to building wildlife overpasses across our state.”

On February 12, Senator Stern, Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, Senator Ben Allen, Chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation and Assemblymember Laura Friedman, Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, pushed CDFW to act in light of the death of P-56, one of only two known breeding male mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains.

The response from state officials states that CDFW, the California Department of Transportation and the California Environmental Protection Agency “agree that an all-inclusive strategy is the best approach to combat any further degradation” of these mountain lions. In addition to today’s commitment, state officials announced in response to the letter that a vote will be held to determine whether mountain lions would gain full protections under the California Endangered Species Act. That vote is scheduled for April 15.

AB 1788, which is sponsored by Assemblymember Bloom, Senator Stern and Assemblymember Friedman and currently sits in the Senate Appropriations Committee, would heavily restrict the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides in California. In addition, the Save LA Cougars campaign to build the Liberty Canyon wildlife overpass in the area where P-56 and other mountain lions have died has gained momentum in recent years.

The tragic passing of P-56, allowed by the issuance of a depredation permit from a local CDFW office, came after a number of high-profile mountain lion deaths in recent months. In March 2019, the mountain lion “P-47” died, likely succumbing to the rat poison. Two other mountain lions – “P-30” and “P-53” – also died in September and August 2019 respectively. Outside of intraspecies conflict, human activity, like the use of anticoagulant rodenticides and freeway traffic through habitat areas, is the predominant cause for mountain lion deaths.