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California Fish and Game Commission Address Mountain Lion Threat, June 19th, at 9 am in Mammoth

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Mountain lion in Big Pine Saddle Club.

Mountain lions in the Sierra Nevada are becoming more bold, venturing into towns and posing a potential threat to both wildlife and human communities. With the lion population in California reaching unprecedented levels, the need for effective management strategies is more pressing than ever.

Lion Population Surge

Recent data shows that the mountain lion population in California has surged to its highest level in decades. Researchers are currently monitoring fifty-five known lions, though this number likely underrepresents the actual population. This increase in mountain lion numbers has coincided with a growing frequency of sightings in residential areas, causing concern among local residents and wildlife experts alike.

Deer Under Threat

The rise in mountain lion numbers comes at a time when deer populations are experiencing significant declines. Deer, already vulnerable to highway collisions and natural causes, are now facing heightened predation from lions, bears, bobcats, and coyotes. This multifaceted threat has pushed deer populations to an all-time low, creating an ecological imbalance that threatens the stability of the entire region’s wildlife.

Dire Situation for Deer

The past year has been particularly harsh for the deer population. A tragic example of this occurred last winter when ice slides along Bishop Pass resulted in the deaths of 70 to 100 deer. Such events highlight the precariousness of the situation and the urgent need for comprehensive wildlife management strategies.

Sierra Bighorn Sheep: A Delicate Balance

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Big horn sheep in Silver Canyon, Bishop. Photo credit: Jesse Steele

The Sierra Bighorn sheep, an iconic species of the region, are also in peril. Their population has plummeted from 680 to 300 individuals. These sheep are caught in a dire situation: remaining at high altitudes risks starvation, while descending to lower elevations exposes them to predation by mountain lions. Effective management of lion populations is critical for the recovery and survival of the Sierra Bighorn sheep.

Challenges in Controlling Lions

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Mountain Lion in a backyard, Big Pine. Photo credit: Tyler Peyron

Managing the mountain lion population presents significant challenges. Current regulations require that lions be caught in the act of killing before lethal action can be taken. This makes it difficult to control their numbers effectively. Hazing, a technique used to deter lions, must be attempted before permits for lethal measures are issued. Translocation of lions, while a potential solution, is limited to specific regions and is not always feasible.

Upcoming Commission Meeting

In response to these pressing concerns, the California Fish and Game Commission will hold a meeting on Wednesday, June 19th, at 9 am in Mammoth. This meeting will bring together concerned stakeholders to discuss the growing mountain lion issue and explore strategies for balancing predator management with wildlife conservation.

The upcoming meeting aims to address the balance between managing predator populations and ensuring the conservation of other wildlife species. The outcomes of this discussion will be crucial in shaping future policies and actions to safeguard both the Sierra Nevada’s ecosystems and the communities that coexist within them.

Stay Informed

As this situation develops, it is essential for residents and wildlife enthusiasts to stay informed about the measures being taken to address the mountain lion threat. The California Fish and Game Commission’s efforts to find sustainable solutions will be pivotal in maintaining the ecological balance and safety of the Sierra Nevada region.

Stay tuned for further updates following the June 19th meeting, and ensure you are part of the conversation on how best to protect our precious wildlife and communities.

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Jody Langford
Jody Langford
1 month ago

Because the idiot voters in CA and the DFG felt like mountain lions are precious little pussy cats mountain lion hunting was banned years ago. Now we have this problem. Why the discussion? Open mountain lion hunting up again. Problem solved. I swear, bureaucrats are dumb. P. S. Same problem developing with bobcats.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jody Langford

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