California mountain lion killed under the state’s depredation

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California mountain lion killed under the state’s depredation.

A male cougar tracked by the National Park Service was killed in the Santa Monica Mountains late last month after the state issued a depredation permit for the animal.

Hunting mountain lions is illegal in the state, but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife issues those permits in cases that a cougar kills or injures domestic animals.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area said P-56 was the first radio-collared mountain lion killed under the state depredation law in the area.

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P-56 was killed Jan. 27, the day after he is believed to have killed domestic animals on a property near Camarillo, said Tim Daly, spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

That was one of nine separate incidents over a two-year period despite efforts on the part of the owner to protect sheep and lambs on the property.

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At least one of the incidents did not involve P-56, but the agency believes he was responsible for a majority of the incidents, Daly said.

The agency emphasizes nonlethal methods first, he said. “These things happen when animals show repeated behavior and steps that are taken by property owners or animal owners are not enough.”

At the time of his death, P-56, believed to be 4 or 5 years old, had a home range that spans most of the western Santa Monicas.

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He was first caught and outfitted with a GPS tracking collar by the National Park Service in April 2017.

Since 2002, park biologists have studied mountain lions in and around the Santa Monicas in Ventura and Los Angeles counties to determine how they survive in the increasingly urban area.

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