Thursday, December 08, 2016

Wildlife meeting turns into wild shouting

A small community meeting on Nov. 30 that was organized to teach ranchers about protecting their livestock in mountain lion country turned ugly when animal rights advocates showed up to protest a permit that would allow a rancher to hunt and kill the cougar thought to be responsible for dozens of livestock deaths over the past year. The National Park Service meeting at Paramount Ranch in Agoura took place a little over a week after news broke that a mountain lion known as P-45 had attacked more livestock in the Santa Monica Mountains. Rancher Victoria Vaughn- Perling lost 10 alpacas in the Nov. 19 attack. She obtained a depredation permit allowing her to hunt the cougar. During the meeting, people in the crowd began shouting down officials who were trying to advise ranchers on how to keep their animals safe. One man called for the death of anybody who would consider killing a mountain lion that only does what it is supposed to do: hunt other animals. Another person called for Vaughn-Perling to be jailed since she had not erected the proper enclosures that could have kept her animals safe. Reid Breitman, a lawyer who represented Vaughn-Perling at the meeting, said he was “booed and vilified” by the crowd. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies stood by as the arguing in the room grew more intense. Eventually, experts were given the opportunity speak. Rebecca Barboza, a biologist with the California Fish and Wildlife Department, explained that depredation permits are allowed by law, and advised opponents to seek a change in legislation if they are not happy with what the permit allows. Biologist Jeff Sikitch discussed a park service mountain lion study that has been underway since 2002. Sikitch said the lions’ 275-square-mile Santa Monica Mountains habitat isn’t enough to keep the animal population alive. But a proposed wildlife bridge over the 101 Freeway in Agoura would allow the big cats to expand their territory into the Simi Hills and beyond, he said. Sikitch told the crowd that cougars are elusive animals that generally avoid people, but they are also opportunistic creatures that will attack livestock when given the chance. Sikitch said during a current, 14-year study of 53 mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, aggressive behavior toward humans has never been documented. An official from the Mountain Lion Foundation suggested the crowd “hold on to their outrage” and seek a change in California Coastal Commission rules that limit the type of livestock pens that can be built on ranches, or to seek a change in laws so the state Fish and Wildlife department has more discretion in how it deals with depredation permits. “The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is legally required to grant these permits, and over the past several decades thousands of mountain lions have been killed through the issuance of these permits,” state Assemblymember Richard Bloom said in a statement. Bloom said he will introduce legislation giving Fish and Wildlife more nonlethal ways to deal with cougars that kill livestock. Since the meeting, Vaughn- Perling has announced she will not act on the permit allowing her to kill P-45. [link]

I couldn't live like that. People screaming at you for defending your property and the government telling you what type pens you can build? No wonder folks are leaving in droves.

Get the hell out of there and leave it to the lefties and the lions.

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