(Photo courtesy NPS)
For the first time, a radio-collared mountain lion being studied by scientists in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was killed under a permit approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
P-56, a 4 to 5-year-old male that was living in the western Santa Monica Mountains was killed by a landowner under what's known as a depredation permit that allows the killing of a protected mammal if the situation meets certain criteria.
It's called a "three strikes policy" which says that if the animal has killed or injured livestock or pets the property owner must first use non-lethal means to deter it from futher attacks.
If those efforts fail to deter the mountain lion, a permit can be granted to kill it.
Officials say in this case, the landowner brought in as many livestock as possible, penning any remaining livestock close to the barn and houses, and utilizing trained guard dogs, hot wire fencing, motion activated lights and auditory (radio) hazing.
And the say the landowner took these measures even though the incidents involving P-56 took place outside the boundary of the current geographic area for the three-stikes policy.
They say over two years, the property owner reported nine depredation incidents resulting in the loss of a dozen animals.
Scientists were told that P-56 was killed on January 27th.
The loss of a mountain lion is of concern because the population in the Santa Monica Mountains is at risk due to its isolated habitat and dangers that have reduced its numbers to seriously low levels.