MALIBU—Officials announced a kill order in effect for a Santa Monica mountain lion nicknamed P-45 on Monday, November 28. The California Department of Fishing and Wildlife granted the kill order to ranchers in the Santa Monica Mountains after the cougar killed four more alpaca on Sunday night.
Ranchers within 10 miles of the incident have 10 days to shoot the cougar under the kill order permit.
“You have to usually leave one of the animals that’s been killed out…you know, from the scent, and you just have to be there when the lion shows up,” said Wendell Phillips, a rancher who lost alpaca to P-45 last month. Phillips said he is willing to use the permit to take the cougar out but would prefer the National Park service trap the animal and relocate it. Relocating P-45 is not an option as mountain lions are territorial and would likely return to this area of the Santa Monica Mountains.
“Eliminating P-45 does not solve the problem, especially given there are at least four mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains that have killed livestock over the past year,” said Kate Kuykendall, acting deputy superintendent for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in a statement. “Nor is P-45’s behavior abnormal or aberrant in any way.”
One possible long-term solution to mountain lion attacks remains erecting mountain lion proof enclosures for pets and livestock in the area, according to the National Park Service. State Senator-Elect Henry Stern, who will represent the effected area beginning December 5, stated he will reach out to state game wardens to find a solution which does not involve P-45’s death. The National Wildlife Federation, whose Save L.A. Cougars campaign is working with state and federal agencies to save the Santa Monica Mountains cats, has offered to pay for livestock protection for the rancher. The safeguard measures include secured pens, guard dogs, and outdoors lights.
The National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife will be having a meeting at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills with residents on Wednesday, November 30 at 7 p.m. to talk about protecting their livestock and pets from mountain lions. It will last until 8:30 p.m.