MALIBU—Mountain Lions have been given temporary endangered status thanks to the California Fish and Game Commission who voted unanimously on a proposal on April 16.

The proposal is to list six populations of mountain lions, including those in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana Mountains, with full endangered species status under the California Endangered Species Act. The Act gives protections to populations that have become vulnerable due to development and other human activities. Future hearings and committee reviews could create permanent protection for the lions that would go into effect by 2022.

Malibu State Senator Henry Stern who is also the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Chair said in a statement:

“I applaud the Fish and Game Commission for extending these critical protections.” He continued, “but we can only truly prevent extinction on our watch if this momentum can finally fuel a comprehensive solution, where wildlife overpasses don our risky freeways and deadly rodenticides are a thing of the past. The campaign to save the California mountain lion continues, stronger than ever before.”

Stern has also sponsored a bill that would restrict the use of rodenticides which have been a leading cause of death for mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes.

Back in February, Stern urged the commission to list mountain lions as endangered species after the slaying of mountain lion P-56 by a Camarillo rancher. The slaying caused public outcry. It was reported that the shooter obtained a permit after P-56 killed several of his sheep.

According to California’s current laws, mountain lions are not considered endangered or threatened. They are classified as a “specially protected species” under a voter-approved 1990 ballot measure that makes it illegal to hunt mountain lions. The only exception is when a depredation permit is issued to target a specific lion that has been killing livestock, pets, or to preserve public safety.