On June 25, 2019 the Mountain Lion Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity formally petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to protect Southern and Central Coast mountain lions under the California Endangered Species Act.
The species is classified as a specially protected mammal. The mountain lion is the only species in California with this designation, and at this time there is no directive explaining how specially protected mammals should be conserved.
Under California Fish and Game Code Section 3950.1, which became law in 1990 through Proposition 117, the mountain lion "shall not be listed as, or considered to be, a game mammal by the department or the commission."
Laws pertaining to California's threatened and endangered species currently do not apply to the mountain lion because the species has not been listed. The mountain lion is also not included as a fully protected mammal, or nongame mammal in California.
Fish and Game Code - FGC
DIVISION 3. FISH AND GAME GENERALLY [2000 - 2948]
CHAPTER 1.5. Endangered Species [2050 - 2089.26]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the California Endangered Species Act.
The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Certain species of fish, wildlife, and plants have been rendered extinct as a consequence of man’s activities, untempered by adequate concern and conservation.
(b) Other species of fish, wildlife, and plants are in danger of, or threatened with, extinction because their habitats are threatened with destruction, adverse modification, or severe curtailment, or because of overexploitation, disease, predation, or other factors.
(c) These species of fish, wildlife, and plants are of ecological, educational, historical, recreational, esthetic, economic, and scientific value to the people of this state, and the conservation, protection, and enhancement of these species and their habitat is of statewide concern.
The Legislature further finds and declares that it is the policy of the state to conserve, protect, restore, and enhance any endangered species or any threatened species and its habitat and that it is the intent of the Legislature, consistent with conserving the species, to acquire lands for habitat for these species.
The Legislature further finds and declares that if any provision of this chapter requires a person to provide mitigation measures or alternatives to address a particular impact on a candidate species, threatened species, or endangered species, the measures or alternatives required shall be roughly proportional in extent to any impact on those species that is caused by that person. Where various measures or alternatives are available to meet this obligation, the measures or alternatives required shall maintain the person’s objectives to the greatest extent possible consistent with this section. All required measures or alternatives shall be capable of successful implementation. This section governs the full extent of mitigation measures or alternatives that may be imposed on a person pursuant to this chapter. This section shall not affect the state’s obligations set forth in Section 2052.
(a) The Legislature further finds and declares that it is the policy of the state that public agencies should not approve projects as proposed which would jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat essential to the continued existence of those species, if there are reasonable and prudent alternatives available consistent with conserving the species or its habitat which would prevent jeopardy.
(b) Furthermore, it is the policy of this state and the intent of the Legislature that reasonable and prudent alternatives shall be developed by the department, together with the project proponent and the state lead agency, consistent with conserving the species, while at the same time maintaining the project purpose to the greatest extent possible.
The Legislature further finds and declares that, in the event specific economic, social, or other conditions make infeasible such alternatives, individual projects may be approved if appropriate mitigation and enhancement measures are provided.
The Legislature further finds and declares that it is the policy of this state that all state agencies, boards, and commissions shall seek to conserve endangered species and threatened species and shall utilize their authority in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter.
The Legislature further finds and declares that the cooperation of the owners of land which is identified as habitat for endangered species and threatened species is essential for the conservation of those species and that it is the policy of this state to foster and encourage that cooperation in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter. Therefore, a landowner of property on which an endangered, threatened, or candidate species lives shall not be liable for civil damages for injury to employees of, or persons under contract with, the department if the injury occurs while those persons are conducting survey, management, or recovery efforts with respect to those species.
The definitions in this article govern the construction of this chapter.
“Conserve,” “conserving,” and “conservation” mean to use, and the use of, all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this chapter are no longer necessary. These methods and procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated with scientific resources management, such as research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition, restoration and maintenance, propagation, live trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise relieved, may include regulated taking.
“Endangered species” means a native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant which is in serious danger of becoming extinct throughout all, or a significant portion, of its range due to one or more causes, including loss of habitat, change in habitat, overexploitation, predation, competition, or disease. Any species determined by the commission as “endangered” on or before January 1, 1985, is an “endangered species.”
“Feasible” means feasible as defined in Section 21061.1 of the Public Resources Code.
“Project” means project as defined in Section 21065 of the Public Resources Code.
“Recover” and “recovery” mean to improve, and improvement in, the status of a species to the point at which listing is no longer appropriate under the criteria set out in this chapter and any regulations adopted thereunder, and, if the department has approved a recovery plan, satisfaction of the conditions of that plan.
“State lead agency” means the state agency, board, or commission which is a lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Sec. 21000) of the Public Resources Code).
“Threatened species” means a native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant that, although not presently threatened with extinction, is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future in the absence of the special protection and management efforts required by this chapter. Any animal determined by the commission as “rare” on or before January 1, 1985, is a “threatened species.”
“Candidate species” means a native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant that the commission has formally noticed as being under review by the department for addition to either the list of endangered species or the list of threatened species, or a species for which the commission has published a notice of proposed regulation to add the species to either list.
The California Department of Fish & Wildlife's CESA Listing Process web page provides a detailed explanation of the steps the petition goes through and addresses timing. The petition to list California mountain lions will be part of a long process, extending at just short of two years, if no delays occur.
In addition to CDFW's website, the Foundation has made our internal timeline public available to the public.
The department is requesting an additional 30 days to return their report, and moves us to the February 2020 meeting for consideration of candidacy.