California reduces automatic kill permits for mountain lions

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Mountain lions that kill pets and livestock in Southern California will no longer be automatically targeted for death.

Cougar photo by U.S. Forest Service.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is changing a policy that automatically grants depredation permits for marauding cats.

Now, an applicant must first try non-lethal methods to scare away or keep out the cougar.

The policy applies to the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountain ranges, where small and genetically isolated populations of cougars are hemmed in by freeways and at risk of dying out.

The auto-kill policy came under fire in 2016 after a Malibu rancher received a permit to shoot a radio-tagged mountain lion dubbed P-45. The cat had killed nearly a dozen alpacas.

Eventually, pens were built to protect the alpacas.

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