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Opinion

Opinion: If it’s mountain lions vs. livestock, readers side with mountain lions

Mountain lion P-56
The mountain lion known as P-56 was killed under a state law that allows lethal action if livestock or pets are attacked.
(National Park Service)

One of the many old saws about Los Angeles is that the people here are oblivious to the inhospitable natural environment that surrounds them — the semi-aridity, the natural predators, the wildfires. It’s as if we believe we can overcome these inconveniences with irrigation and pavement.

The readers upset by the death of mountain lion P-56 are proving that not all locals agree, even if their letters suggest they agree with the idea that Los Angeles has a problematic relationship with nature. In fact, almost every time the L.A. Times publishes an article on mountain lions, most notably Hollywood’s own P-22, we receive letters expressing awe over the shy hunters roaming near our backyards and hiking trails.

When one is killed crossing a highway or, in this case, by someone who had a depredation permit, the expressions become ones of anger and sadness.

Arnold Newman of Sherman Oaks blames poor animal husbandry:

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Back in the day, I had an adorable puppy. We were in my fenced-in backyard once when my phone rang and I quickly went inside to answer it.

I caught the call but lost my dog. Coyotes had jumped the fence and took him. At first I blamed the coyotes but quickly realized the fault was all mine because I had left him unguarded and in inadequate fencing. This is precisely what happened to the property owner who tried and failed over nine separate attacks to adequately fence off his animal pens from mountain lion P-56.

I applaud Joseph T. Edmiston, whose leadership of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy over the past 40 years has created extensive and glorious open space in our mountains for the benefit of us all, including wildlife. It has been said that no major city in the world has co-existed with such wildlife as mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes as our City of Angels.

I plead that our glorious lions are not destroyed due to insufficient animal husbandry.

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Lisa Edmondson of Los Angeles welcomes action by City Hall:

Thanks to L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz for initiating action to end permitted killing of our mountain lions.

I grew up in a semi-rural environment in Europe; there were no lions, but certainly weasels, foxes and birds of prey would pick off chickens from owners who didn’t properly sequester their flock. You can’t tell me that landowners with livestock are helpless to build lion-proof enclosures.

Sylmar resident Bob Lentz puts the risk posed by pumas into perspective:

A writer to The Times bemoans the possibility of mountain lions killing humans in California.

The last documented killing of a human by a mountain lion occurred in January 2004 at Whiting Ranch Regional Park in Orange County. We have a much smaller chance of getting killed by a mountain lion than being struck by lightning.


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