The Mountain Lion Foundation works constantly to improve mountain lion policy in the state legislature, through the Fish and Game Commission, county by county, in cities, towns and neighborhoods. We collaborate closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has established the most science-based lion conservation policy in the country. But there is always more to do.
Mountain lions in Southern California and along the Central Coast are at risk of extinction because of habitat loss and fragmentation from freeways and sprawl. This includes mountain lions in the Eastern Peninsular Range, Santa Ana Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, and Santa Cruz Mountains.
Freeways and sprawl have led to extremely isolated mountain lion populations. Research shows that this is causing high levels of inbreeding and rapid declines in genetic diversity. The mountain lions in the Santa Ana and Santa Monica mountains are particularly at risk - a recent study predicted that if inbreeding depression occurs, the Santa Ana mountain lions could be lost within 12 years and the Santa Monica mountain lions within 15 years.
On June 25, 2019, the Mountain Lion Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition to list the mountain lion as a threatened or endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).
The California Endangered Species Act establishes a statewide policy to protect species threatened with extinction and their habitat. The Act requires state and local agencies to use their authority to conserve listed species by acquiring land, mitigating further threats, and prohibiting their killing or harassment (subject to limited exceptions).
If the mountain lion is finally listed as threatened or endangered in California, the process will take more than two years. There will be many times that we will call on supporters to sign petitions, write letters and send emails in support of the process, but for now, the best thing you can do to help us achieve this remarkable goal is to become a member of the Mountain Lion Foundation to help fund the work our staff will be required to do. And please, sign up for emails, and watch for opportunities to urge policy-makers to protect our lions!
Studies conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service, the University of California and other scientists have found that approximately 80-90% of predators -- including mountain lions -- have been exposed to highly toxic second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGAR) that are used to control rodent populations. These harsh chemicals are working their way up the food chain and killing hundreds of wild animals that would control the rodent population naturally.
Anticoagulant rodenticide exposure interferes with blood clotting, resulting in uncontrollable bleeding and death -- even from a single feeding. Exposure can ripple through the food chain, spreading from smaller animals to larger predators, like mountain lions, that feed upon them. On February 10, 2019, researchers with the National Park Service recaptured mountain lion P-53 and treated her for mange -- a parasitic disease associated with anticoagulant rodenticides. While P-53 was able to recover, P-3 and P-4 died from uncontrolled bleeding caused by ingesting the toxins.
On March 21, 2019, P-47, a mountain lion being tracked by the National Park Service in the Santa Monica Mountains, was found dead. Liver tests determined that the 3-year-old lion had been exposed to six different anticoagulant compounds which ultimately resulted in his untimely death.
If passed, Assembly Bill (AB) 1788, the California Ecosystems Protection Act, would ban SGAR's throughout the state of California, with the exception of agricultural use or by special permit, ultimately protecting mountain lions and other wildlife.
On June 19, 2019, AB 1788 successfully passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on a vote of 4-0 on June 19, 2019. This bill, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, will be heard by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water in early July where it will face a crucial vote before being voted on by the full Senate and again by the Assembly as the bill has been amended.
Visit our Action Alert to learn what you can do now to pass AB 1788.