A revised population analysis project was launched in 2014 but the results have yet to be made publicly available.
Big Cat Problems
Roughly 100 of the cats are killed on roadways each year, and to help address the issue plans are underway for infrastructure designed to helped wildlife cross the road.
The most notable project is an ongoing effort to build the worlds largest wildlife overpass, a 210 foot bridge that would cross over 10 lanes of The 101 Freeway in Los Angeles.
The intent of the project is to interconnect segmented populations of pumas to prevent inbreeding from creating a genetic bottleneck.
With mountain lion populations way up, and mule deer, antelope, wild sheep, and elk populations comparatively struggling in California, the big cats have to find something to eat.
Sometimes that’s people’s pets. Oftentimes it’s people’s livestock. Despite outlawing mountain lion hunting, the big cats still get shot in the state through the use of depredation permits issued on a case by case basis to mitigate livestock conflict.
So instead of raising money for wildlife conservation through the sale of licenses, permits, and tags that would be required to legally hunt mountain lions, the state now actually just spends money on shooting mountain lions with little to no conservation benefit.
Mountain Lion Invades Suburban California Home
The cats are also becoming more and more common in suburban areas.
Just last week a cougar was captured while relaxing in a tree in the middle of neighborhood just outside of San Francisco. Some of the craziest video footageof a mountain lion ever recorded also took place in a Bay Area suburb, when a mountain lion hunted down a deer that was eating flowers on someone’s front porch.
This new story is crazier than both of those stories though.
A cougar was presumably patrolling a suburban area in search of something to eat when when a taxidermy display apparently caught its attention. So it crashed through a window in an attempt to hunt the hunting trophies just after midnight on Tuesday near the town of Pacifica on the edge of the Santa Cruz mountains.
According to San Francisco Gate, the cat broke into a room of the house that was adorned with several stuffed big game hunting trophies. The home owner was able to scare the cat out of his house and it fled the scene before authorities could locate it.
Mountain lion conflicts in suburbia are becoming so common that the Department has issued a series of steps homeowners can take cat-proof their property.
The suggestions include deer-proofing your property to avoid attracting a lion’s main food source, removing dense vegetation from around the home to reduce hiding spaces, installing outdoor lighting to make it difficult for mountain lions to approach unseen, and not leaving small children or pets outside unattended.
Or… maybe we could just let people hunt mountain lions again, huh California? Then maybe the Department could spend some of that conservation revenue to help fund conservation projects for species like deer, elk, sheep and antelope.