Our work in Arizona resulted in the Game and Fish Commission voting to ban the use of trail cameras for aiding the take of wildlife
The Mountain Lion Foundation is at the State Capital on the ground, driving advocacy in California for over three decades. We are proud to continue to monitor and work with state agencies to ensure California continues to set the gold standard for lion protection.
As it stands in CA currently…
The State Budget:
The California budget is still in flux due to trailer bills but it appears that there will be significant funds spent on the environment, some examples: crossings/passages $230m, $64.6m for Biodiversity Resilience, including $53.75m for non-fee related California Endangered Species Act (CESA) work; $7.85 million to do an assessment of CDFW lands and infrastructure, including $350,000 to develop a feasibility study for a state-of-the-art Wildlife Health Lab; $3 million in one-time funding to develop a wolf compensation program.
The California Endangered Species Act (CESA) petition that we filed jointly with the Center for Biological Diversity, must undergo a status review prior to being approved. The CDFW status review report was due May 3, 2021. CDFW asked for and was given a 6 month extension until November. These extensions are common in complex cases and in this case combined with Covid’s effect on workload at CDFW.
Our Work in the CA Legislature:
The Mountain Lion Foundation has supported these bills, which have a positive impact for lions.
AB 149 – Transportation Budget Trailer Bill – The Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing in the Santa Monica Mountains is closer to breaking today ground thanks to a $25 million challenge grant from the Annenberg Foundation. The Mountain Lion Foundation and our members have long supported the crossing and the work of Save LA Cougars to complete this project. This Spring, MLF took the lead to pass AB 149 which will allow the Wildlife Conservation Board to name wildlife crossing projects as a potential incentive or acknowledgement of private donations such as the Annenberg donation. AB 149 was signed into law by Governor Newson on July 16, 2021.
AB 645 – Fish and wildlife: poaching penalties: probation period. – Failed this year and might be active again in 2022. Would have extended some probation periods for poaching wildlife to greater than 1 year.
AB 1189 – Transportation: indirect cost recovery: wildlife crossing projects. – Failed this year and might be active again in 2022. Prohibit the Department of Transportation from charging for administration indirect cost recovery for any wildlife crossing project that receives private funding for more than 50% of the project cost.
AB 1298 – Pesticides: use of 2nd generation anticoagulant rodenticides. Still active, last heard in committee on 7/13/2021. Technical clean up removing the director needing to make a certification before use in certain circumstances.
SB 55 – Very high fire hazard severity zone: development prohibition. Failed this year and might be active again in 2022. This bill would prohibit the creation or approval of a new development, in a very high fire hazard severity zone unless there is a comprehensive, wildfire prevention and community hardening strategy.
Here are bills we stand in opposition of.
AB 554 – Department of Fish and Wildlife: Office of the Ombudsperson. Failed this year and might be active again in 2022. This bill would require the Fish and Game Commission to appoint the ombudsperson, to operate independently of department staff, report to the president of the commission and be exempt from public records disclosure.
SB 760 and SB761 – State highways: State Route 241, San Clemente. Failed this year but might be active again in 2022. This bill would delete from the state highway system the portion of State Route 241 from State Route 5 south of the City of San Clemente to Oso Parkway east of the City of Mission Viejo. Without amendment it might preclude remediation efforts to protect mountain lions and other wildlife that were required in a lawsuit settlement.
An upcoming initiative on the Ballot to watch.
Plastics Free CA initiative has collected sufficient signatures and should qualify to be on the November 2022 ballot.
Recent legislative session featured many wins for land and water conservation, some of which will indirectly benefit
mountain lions in the state.
HB 1326 – This bill invests $25 million into Colorado State Parks including $3.5 million for Colorado Parks & Wildlife to implement its statewide wildlife action plan and
conservation of native species. Much of this funding will be used to protect habitats that mountain lions, as well as many other
native species, rely on.
HB 1233– This enhances the conservation easement credit for landowners, providing greater opportunity for landowners to place their land in easement. These conservation easements help improve habitat
connectivity for many species, including mountain lions, particularly when protected parcels are adjacent to public lands.
SB 249– This bill will provide more funding to respond to growing demand for public land access, including for first responders and other professionals to keep both
visitors and wildlife safe through educational programs and campaigns.
HB 1318 – An important win for outdoor
equity and access. The bill establishes the Outdoor Equity Board within Colorado Parks & Wildlife that will provide grants to improve park access for underserved youth and their families.
While we celebrate the mountain lions’ many wins, there are always losses and this requires that we stay diligent in our work. In Nebraska we advocated for the end of trophy hunting to protect the precious few mountain lions that remain in that region. Despite our request, and your support, the hunt will move forward. As of 2019, the mountain lion population in the Pine Ridge was estimated at a mere 34 individuals, including kittens. This number does not include the 11 lions killed in the 2020 and 2021 seasons. When you factor in lions removed by hunters, the population size dwindles to 23. If 2/3 of the population is of adult age, then the population is closer to 15 individuals. With so few remaining we cannot spare even one life. However, despite this set back, our fight does not end here. We will continue to advocate for lions in Nebraska until they are protected from poor management such as this.
Thanks to supporters like you, wildlife on public lands in New Mexico are now safe from trappers! New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 32, which bans traps, snares, and poisons on public lands across the state. This is a HUGE win for the lion and other wildlife sought after by fur trappers and other hunters. The trap free coalition, together with concerned citizens worked hard and we are thrilled to see this tireless work finally pay off.
Our thanks go out the many organizations in the Trap Free New Mexico coalition:
Wild Earth Guardians, Rio Grande Chapter of Sierra Club, Animal Protection Voters, Southwest Environmental Center, New Mexico Wild, Project Coyote, Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Voters of New Mexico, Endangered Species Coalition, Amigos Bravos, Defenders of Wildlife, and Sandia Mountain Bearwatch.
We are so grateful for everyone’s hard work.
Our work did not end there! Mountain lions passing though Oklahoma are safe from hunting for at least a year. In January 2021, SB 769 was introduced by Senator Casey Murdock (R), a cattle and calf rancher in Oklahoma, which proposed a lottery or draw for mountain lion hunting in the state of Oklahoma. Allowing the killing of the rare transecting lion that happens to roam through the state would offset any conservation efforts that have been made in that region. The Mountain Lion Foundation, and several other conservation organizations, opposed SB 769 as it jeopardized the ability of mountain lions to reclaim portions of their historic range, would undo decades of research, science, and conservation endeavors, and is not ethical wildlife management. Thanks to these efforts, SB 769 is currently “dormant for the year.” The Mountain Lion Foundation will continue to monitor this bill, along with others that threaten the survival of the
puma, in this region.
The Mountain Lion Foundation is committed to having a strong presence in Washington state where we are working to create a solid foundation for cougar survival.
As it stands in WA currently
The State Budget:
SB 5092 – WDFW is provided funds for assistance grants to local public safety agencies for responding to cougar safety issues and is also required to report back to the legislature on the number of cougars killed by law enforcement and the impact of this on management. Within amounts appropriated in this budget, the Department of Fish and Wildlife must provide a report to the legislature by January, 2022 on the number of cougars reported to the Department as harvested [killed] by local law enforcement agencies, training opportunities provided to local law enforcement agencies, and how cougar removals by local enforcement agencies impact the department’s cougar management strategies.
$50,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2022 and $50,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2023 are provided solely for the Department to assist local jurisdictions in responding to cougar related public safety issues. The funding is available to a local jurisdiction if they have a signed agreement with the Department that recognizes cougar management authority is vested in the Department and provides criteria to determine if a cougar creates an actionable public safety risk eligible for financial assistance. For the purposes of this subsection, a cougar presence on private property alone does not create an actionable public safety risk.
We thank the Budget Leaders Christine Rolfes and Kevin Van De Wege for bringing this forward and getting it passed. This is great news for cougars in Washington State. Cougars are overhunted in Washington and this bill will help to ensure they are not killed just for existing and living their lives.
Our Work in the Washington Legislature:
The Mountain Lion Foundation has supported these bills, which have a positive impact for lions.
5141-S2.PL – Environmental Equity – Signed – Partial Veto – May 17, 2021. Establishes criteria for the State to follow to address environmental and health disparities that were identified by the Environmental Justice Task Force, such as inclusiveness in community engagement, equitable distribution of benefits, and consideration of vulnerable populations in decision making.
5126-S2.PL – Climate Commitment Act, Cap and Trade Legislation – Signed – Partial Veto – May 17, 2021. This is a cap and trade legislation that puts a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and allows for a tradable allowance of these emissions.
Current Litigation on behalf of the lion:
Klickitat County Sheriff – MLF has joined the lawsuit filed by Animal Law Offices of Adam P. Karp to dismantle Klickitat County’s Puma Posse effectively stopping the Sheriff from using said posse to kill cougars, just for existing. For more information on this important litigation and how you can help go to our
We have written the Governor, as have many of you, our supporters and members of MLF urging him to appoint conservation and science minded WDFW commissioners to the two open seats.