Where to put a lion?


    Dear Jerry:

    First, let me apologize for taking so long to get back to you. The person who kindly donates his time to run our server was on vacation and, during that time, we had problems receiving our mail. He is now back and everything is once again on track.

    To answer your question, yes, it is possible to tranquilize and relocate a mountain lion. There are, however, two main problems with this. In California, it is getting difficult to find space far enough away from human population to adequately relocate a lion. Also, lions are very territorial. Chances are, by relocating a mountain lion, we are putting it into another lion’s established territory. Mountain lions will fight to the death for their territory so, relocating can possibly be a death sentence. It does, though, at least give the lion a chance as opposed to killing it. Relocation is the best option but should be used as a last resort.

    The lion that you are referring to was seen in a “watchable wildlife” park. Our question is why can’t a lion live in a designated wildlife park? The reason why this lion was hunted was because two women got scared when they saw it. They then ran into a chemical toilet and said that they heard the lion walking out of the bushes and, when looking out the door, saw the lion circling the building.

    First of all, these women seemed so scared that I doubt they took more than a glance out the door and, I would not take their details to be too accurate. Secondly, none of the trackers could find any evidence of tracks, hairs or anything else indicating that a mountain lion was anywhere near that chemical toilet.

    With all of this, the department of fish and game still decided that this particular lion acted “aggressively” and should be hunted and killed.

    If people are going to go to designated wildlife areas, they should educate themselves as to what animals they might see and how they should act when they see these animals.

    Thank you for sending the contact information for your local newspapers. I believe that our executive director has already sent letters to the editor to a number of papers in your area. We are, however, having a difficult time getting them published. It seems that our side of the story is not very “newsworthy.”

    If you do happen to see any articles in your area regarding this case or any other case involving mountain lions, would you be kind enough to forward them to us? We need to keep on top of these types of situations and do rely on the people in those areas to keep us informed.

    If you have any other questions or comments, please do no hesitate to contact me.

    Charlene Kerr

    Mountain Lion Foundation