When wardens at the California Department of Fish and Game put in a request for a pole syringe and tranquilizing drug to easily handle two loose mountain lions, they should have followed through. Instead, they forewent the safe method and murdered the two cubs.
Experts say they were most likely orphaned siblings, which explains why they were wandering the area and taking shelter in crawl spaces. Around nine months old, the mountain lions weighed only 25 - 30 pounds each when spotted near the edge of downtown Half Moon Bay.
Organizations, such as Wild Rescue, have formed specifically to prevent these occurrences. They hope to be called on when wild animals roam into Bay Area residential areas.
With better instruction in handling wildlife, these wardens may not have needlessly killed the cats instead of tranquilizing them.
Ask the California Department of Fish and Game to establish protocols for handling wildlife in residential spaces.
Until recently, there were 50-70 adult mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains. There are now two fewer after wardens shot two orphaned mountain lion cubs who had accidentally wandered into Half Moon Bay.
Clearly, the wardens anticipated a situation that attempting to tranquilize the mountain lions would not solve. However, this does not seem to be the case; shooting the cubs, who were not large and not an immediate threat, could have been prevented by calling in teams that specialize in capturing and relocation wild animals.
It's a shame that these wardens did not have stricter protocols to fall back on.I urge you to to establish protocols for handling wildlife in residential spaces to prevent future, senseless mountain lion deaths.
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