Lion in dim light against green rock.



Though it's likely too late to catch the poacher who mutilated this particular lion, the illegal killing and selling of California's protected mountain lions remains a serious problem. When in or near mountain lion habitat, please keep an eye out for our resident felines. Report all suspicious behavior, criminal activity, and discovered deceased mountain lions to the nearest warden or ranger station, and please call the Cal TIP anonymous hotline - Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters - (888)DFG-CALTIP or (888)334-2258. Mountain Lion Foundation staff are always willing to help, too, so be sure to contact us with any questions or information.


Breaking News: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Near Buellton, Santa Barbara County, California
Body Dismembered, Paws Sawed Off, for Black Market Trade in Animal Parts

Early in the morning commute on April 24, 2012 a male mountain lion was struck and killed by a car on Highway 101 near the town of Buellton, California. Vehicle mortality is one of the more common forms of death for lions in Southern California. What makes this particular death unique is the fact that a passing motorist stopped, sawed off the animal's paws, and genitals for possible sale on the black market, then tossed the carcass into a nearby gully in an effort to hide the evidence.

Buellton is located on US Highway 101 in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County. Buellton has an estimated population of 4,828. Within a six mile radius are four picturesque villages: the Danish City of Solvang; the western town of Santa Ynez; and the quaint rural communities of Ballard and Los Olivos.
Buellton is located on US Highway 101 in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, California.

The dismembered lion was discovered by Julia Di Sieno, the Executive Director of Animal Rescue Team, a wildlife care facility located in Solvang, California, and a California Department of Fish & Game Warden, Lt. Jim Solis.

Proposition 117, passed by the Mountain Lion Foundation and California Voters in 1990, designated the mountain lion (also known as cougar, puma, and panther) as a specially protected species, and also made it illegal for the public to own or trade in cougar body parts. Paws are often taken to make jewelry from the claws. However, body parts are also sold for supposed medicinal purposes.

View the Terrible Damage

Rather than post the graphic images of the heartless poaching incident, we want to let you decide whether or not this is something you feel is important to see. The photograph is a closeup, bloody reminder of the threats faced by mountain lions in America.

Photo of Buellton from Santa Ynez Peak.
Notice the fragmentation of the landscape and the resulting loss of wildlife habitat. See too, how crossing highways within a mountain range could be a daunting and dangerous task for any wild animal.

Be Vigilant

Animal Rescue Team and others are offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who removed the lion's paws.

All information regarding this crime — and any other poaching incident — should be reported to Cal-TIP Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters: (888)DFG-CALTIP or (888)334-2258

Please carry the Cal-TIP number with you in your wallet. You never know when you may be instrumental in saving a wild animal.

Read More About the Serious
Consequences of Poaching in
Mountain Lion Foundation's
book Crimes Against the Wild.

Book Cover: Crimes Against the WIld.

About the Mountain Lion Foundation.

The Mountain Lion Foundation, founded in 1986, is a national nonprofit organization protecting mountain lions and their habitat. The mountain lion is also known as cougar, puma, panther, and catamount.

We believe that mountain lions are in peril. Our nation is on the verge of destroying this apex species upon which whole ecosystems depend. Hunting mountain lions is morally unjustified, and killing lions to prevent conflicts is ineffective and dangerous. There is a critical need to know more about the biology, behavior, and ecology of mountain lions, and governments should base decisions upon truthful science, valid data, and the highest common good. Conserving critical lion habitat is essential.

Together, we can save America's lion.

About Animal Rescue Team, Inc.

Animal Rescue Team is the only organization between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo permitted by the California Department of Fish and Game to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. Animal Rescue Team was incorporated in June of 2007. Located in the Santa Ynez Valley, A.R.T. focuses on large mammal rescue, although raptors, birds and reptiles are never turned away. Domestic animals are also occasionally fostered until a loving forever home can be found.

During the Jesusita Fire A.R.T. rescued over 200 animals, wild and domestic, working with police and fire officials to get the animals the help they needed. Animal Rescue Team is the only animal rescue facility equipped with an animal ambulance on the Central Coast. This allows them to better serve the animals and the community in times of disaster.Whether the call comes from a resident or one of the many public agencies with which A.R.T. works closely in Santa Barbara County, A.R.T. is available to respond 24/7 to an injured, orphaned, or displaced wild animal.

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