Guest Article: Are Mountain Lions More Important Than the Safety of People, Children, and Pets? – Part 2, by William E. Simpson

The incidents that were previously listed are but a few of the documented mountain lion attacks on humans, most of which were small children. All lions involved in these attacks, that were located and destroyed, were found to be healthy. Some showed signs of hunger.

So as we now clearly understand, there’s nothing cute or cuddly about mountain lions; they are savage and ruthless killers.

Who can gauge the emotional trauma and stress of losing a pet, or exponentially worse, a child, friend, or loved-one?

Who Accepts Humans As Part of Predator-Prey Cycle?

Can environmentalists who are academically and politically motivated? I don’t think so. They only see such monumental losses of loved ones as part of the predator-prey cycle. How does anyone with a soul tell grieving parents that their son or daughter was part of a “predator-prey” cycle? How about mountain lion activists? Are they going to be the ones to explain the situation to these parents? It’s not likely; they’re drunk on their own kool-aid, and, as the high priests and priestesses of such tenets and obtuse notions about lions, they craft all the talking points for the people downstream from them, including game wardens who are educated to some extent by these highly biased and insensitive academics and activists. Do you think these are harsh words? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s judge the tree by its fruits. Is it lunacy or logic?

California Bill Subordinates Humans to Benefit of Lions

Now comes the “California Mountain Lion Public Safety Bill”

The killing of two mountain lion kittens in Half Moon Bay, California, sparked legislation to change how the California Department of Fish & Wildlife handles mountain lion public safety situations. On September 6th, the landmark bill was signed into law. Read through this page to learn more about SB 132 and relive our journey to pass the first nonlethal mountain lion public safety bill.

California Senate Bill 132 went in effect on January 1, 2014, when it was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, now known as Fish and Game Code Section 4801.5. (Brown is the same man who seems to also illogically endorse removing dams that store billions of gallons of fresh water at a time when California is engaged in a drought of epic proportions, to which, Brown has applied severe water-use restrictions and other half measures.) So what does this latest law say? The following is an excerpt:

Section 4801.5:

(a) Unless authorized in this chapter, nonlethal procedures shall be used when removing or taking any mountain lion that has not been designated as an imminent threat to public health or safety.

(b) For purposes of this chapter, “imminent threat to public health or safety” means a situation where a mountain lion exhibits one or more aggressive behaviors directed toward a person that is not reasonably believed to be due to the presence of responders.

So as we learn, the dozens of humans (including children) who have been attacked and/or killed by lions mean absolutely nothing to the cold, heartless people who want to subordinate the rights of humans to those of mountain lions. Furthermore, how is it that the killing of just “two kittens” of a species that is not in any way endangered, causes wrong-minded representatives to pass legislation? Huh? Do human lives even matter to these people anymore?

America desperately needs people in public office (legislators, administrators, law enforcement, et cetera) who care about the people and their safety and welfare first! Everything else is second. We are supposed to be a country with a “government of the People, by the People and for the People,” according to Abe Lincoln.

Having discussed this Section of the Fish and Game Code with both County Officials and with CA State Fish & Wildlife Game Wardens, the bottom line according to my understanding is that:

1. The lion must have attacked or killed livestock; or,

2. The lion must have attacked or killed a pet; or,

3. The lion must pose a significant threat to an individual through an attack or similar.

In response to these asserted “requirements”, I have said this:

“When a lion comes looking for a meal around someone’s home or ranch, a school, playground, or park, the record of actual facts clearly shows that nothing good can come of it, and there is no logical or reasonable reply to this fact.”

So what is the current status of the mountain lion population? Is it on the brink of extinction? Is that why humans and their animals are made to suffer the grisly and traumatic results of their attacks before there is any intervention or prophylaxis?

Have some legislators in California forgotten their sworn duty (“Semper Pro Populus”), and that the safety of citizens is of paramount importance and much more so than any wildlife conservation effort? In the case of lions, given the robust populations, no conservation is needed in any event.

This California Lion Code arguably subordinates the safety of families, children, and pets to the benefit of lions. It further defers the government’s responsibility and liability for the safety of people and their pets to the mountain lions that have established territories close to homes, ranches, schools, and parks, where they hunt in close proximity to humans and where lions make the ultimate and often fatal decision to attack or not.

Any such code is at odds with the rights of the citizens under the law and the U.S. Constitution; where no entity or government can (by implementation of law, policy, or otherwise) force citizens to suffer injury, death, and economic loss without prior due process, not to mention the emotional cost paid and endured.

Given the egregious price already paid in the lives of humans, pets, and livestock as well as the emotional trauma related to these events, I decided to look into this very interesting and unusual issue, and I have discovered some very interesting facts and correlations!

Mountain Lion Populations and Territories

Let’s begin with what the California Department of Fish & Wildlife has to say about mountain lion populations: (from their website): Are mountains lions listed as a threatened or endangered species? Mountain lions are not threatened nor endangered in California. In fact, the lion population is relatively high in California and their numbers appear to be stable. Mountain lions are legally classified as “specially protected species”. This has nothing to do with their relative abundance and does not imply that they are rare.

How many mountain lions are in California? Any statewide estimate of the mountain lion population is just a “guesstimate”. Mountain lion studies over the last 30 years have estimated population densities for different habitat types around the state. These density estimates varied from zero to 10 lions per 100 square miles and were simply expanded to the total amount of each habitat type available. This method provides a crude estimate of between 4,000 and 6,000 mountain lions statewide.

So, the “experts” at the CA F&W clearly say that the mountain lions in California are “NOT threatened or endangered”. Wow! That’s an unexpected statement, given all of the contrary hullabaloo by the lion activists!

So moving forward with this unimpeachable evidence of the lion’s population status in California, I wanted to explore if this statement was somewhat understated in sympathy to the political pressure of the mountain lion advocates, who arguably have political influence over the Fish & Wildlife Dept. and are largely made up of people who don’t have to live among the lions, while many others, like ranchers, do have to live in mountain lion country.

Another way to clearly understand the actual mountain lion populations is simple:

When a male lion leaves its mother after spending a couple years learning how to kill, it sets out to find and stake out its own territory. A simple lion will kill (on average) about 70 deer each year. This means that any given “territory” must contain at least enough deer to satisfy the hunger of the lion. Female lions are tolerated within the existing territory of an established male lion. Older male lions, who have already established territories, will aggressively defend and, if need be, kill any new male lion trying to establish a territory within an existing territory. Therefore, given the size and power of an established older male lion, the younger male lions (2-4 years old) will continue searching for their own space, as opposed to facing a more experienced male lion.

These younger male lions are no slouches and are deadly killers, still weighing as much as 160 pounds. When they cannot find an unoccupied territory, which is what happens when there are too many lions in the natural habitats combined with too few deer, lions will frequently set up shop very close to humans on the borders of cities and near ranches and homes, where they also begin to modify their predation behavior to attack and kill anything they can, including pets, livestock, and humans.

This modification of predatory behavior is an adaption out of necessity. The preferred prey of mountain lions is deer, and when lions establish territories too close to humans and their enterprises, there are more domestic animals, pets, and people than there are deer, so the logical behavior of a lion that is adapting is to try and eat anything it can attack and kill in its new environment, including pets and humans.

However, this also raises the question that if there are too few lions, which is not claimed by the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, wouldn’t there be plenty of available territory? Of course the answer to that question is also a function of the number of naturally preferred prey (deer) available within the habitats. A habitat (territory) that has a robust deer population could support more lions and wouldn’t need to be excessively large to sustain the lion’s annual need for prey. However, when the deer are sparse, then a much larger territory is required in order to encompass an adequate deer population to support a lion that kills ~70 deer each year, along with other smaller animals.

As it turns out, many areas in the United States and in California, including Siskiyou County, have observed very serious declines in deer populations. In Siskiyou County, California, deer populations are characterized as “dramatically declining,” according some wildlife biologists.

Here is an excerpt from The Siskiyou Daily News:

‘YREKA – Nov. 3, 2014 at 10:04 AM – A dramatic decline in the Siskiyou County deer populations over two decades has triggered concern and a proposed management plan in an attempt to find conclusive evidence as to why the declining numbers continue to persist, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife project lead Robert Schaefer… As seen in the pilot phase, increasing trends in selenium deficiency and predator impacts are of interest to the black-tailed deer study, said Schaefer. “…

Interestingly, this “dramatic decline” directly correlates over time with the same period of time since lions were granted a “protected” status, in 1990.

Let’s do the math. (Maybe we’re the only ones?) Let’s use the CA Dept. of Fish & Game’s statistic of 6,000 mountain lions living within the State. Each lion will kill on average 70 deer each year.

Dramatic Decline of Deer Population

So the math is: 6,000 X 70 = 420,000 deer killed by lions annually in California!

How can anyone miss this fact when they (CA F&G wildlife biologists, who can do the math) are “supposedly” searching for an explanation for the steep decline in the deer populations? Could it be that an actionable answer that remains elusive yields more taxpayer-funded studies and, thus, revenue for the wildlife biologists and academics? Meanwhile, after the lions completely wipe out the deer population in Siskiyou County, they will start killing and eating anything else they can!

So now, having learned the unvarnished facts, and with a legitimate understanding of the mentality behind the obsession these environmentalists have for lions, we can begin to understand why these same people couldn’t care less about the economic losses to farmers and ranchers that are inflicted by lion attacks when they adopt territories too close to homes, ranches, schools, parks, and other rural and even urban public gathering places. Lions in California are now being seen more often than ever before, and they are establishing territories in and around small and large towns!

Livestock losses are devastating to ranchers and farmers. (You know these people; they’re the ones who work hard to feed everyone else!) Cattle, sheep, and even horses that weigh a 1,000 pounds are attacked and killed. When animals aren’t killed outright and are merely injured, the veterinarian bills can range into the thousands of dollars!

“I was reading some of the older posts about different animal attacks and thought I would share what I have seen. This horse belongs to my SO’s cousin, who is our neighbor. It ran through a fence one night and was missing for almost a week. When they found it, it had been attacked by a mountain lion. We live in Surry County, NC, and they are not supposed to be here according to wildlife officials, but at least one is. These are some of the pictures of the horse at the vet after they found it. Amazingly, he has almost completely recovered now.”

1990 state mountain lion legislation is now outdated (the lion populations have rebounded in robust fashion), and the more recent legislation of January 2014 (Section 4801.5) is an insult to the intelligence of thinking Californians, as it regards the current lion populations as well as being an affront to their Constitutional rights!

The indicators of that are spelled out herein and would certainly be detailed by any unbiased wildlife biologist, who would surely testify in a court of law that when young male lions (and/or old male lions who can no longer defend their territory) start showing up close to homes, ranches, and even inside the city limits of dozens of towns and cities (including Yreka) in California and elsewhere in America and begin attacking humans and their pets, it’s a clear indication that there are far too many adult male lions that have already claimed all of the available territory containing whatever prey (deer) may be left.

Last year, I interviewed a deputy sheriff in northern California who told me about a mountain lion that was spotted in a tree on the grounds of an elementary school when the school was in session. When the deputy at the scene contacted the game warden, the deputy was instructed by the state game warden to wait until he arrived on scene, which was estimated to be about an hour. Here, yet again, we see another example of the thought process behind how the state is dealing with lions when humans are at risk; lions seem to have precedence over people; in this case, the lion’s well-being was more important than the safety of the children. Fortunately, the deputy called his boss (the sheriff of the county), who upon hearing about the situation immediately instructed the deputy to kill the lion and eliminate the risk to the children; the right decision came easily to a man whose main concern is public safety. The safety of people comes before any form of wildlife conservation, without exception. Human lives matter!

The evidence is simply overwhelming; the mismanagement of mountain lions in California (or lack thereof) at the behest of a relatively few ignorant and wrong-headed people, has led to the plummeting deer populations in the state. Here are a few of the key points from an article at SFGate:

  • Deer numbers: The Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates there are now 445,000 deer in California, down from 2 million in the 1960s and 850,000 in the 1990s. “Deer numbers statewide are down 80 percent… “
  • Predation: One study captured 96 healthy fawns and tracked them for seven years; of those killed by predators, 49 percent were killed by mountain lions, 27 percent by coyotes, and 22 percent by bears.
  • In other studies, bear predation of fawns has been much higher. Another study equipped 25 adult does with radio collars; in three years, 11 were killed by mountain lions, one by coyotes.
  • Diminished habitat quality: In many national forests, diverse ecosystems were cut down and replanted with conifer monocultures. With few hardwoods and less material to browse in second growth forests, food for wildlife has been reduced. With that, overall nutrition for deer can be poor, which can bring reduced survival rates and antler growth.”

When you read (or hear) that some disease, a “louse”, mineral deficiency, or decrease in “habitat quality” are the culprits in the decline of deer populations, in light of the mathematics of lion predation, it’s becomes clear that those “alleged culprits” are at very best only responsible for a small fraction of the deer lost, and moreover they are simply the talking points that the environmentalists employ to cover their failures for allowing the lions to decimate the deer populations in the first place.

There seems to be no limits to which the lion-lovers will try to blame the decline in deer populations on everything and anything, except the explosive growth of mountain lions.

In the case of the loss of quality deer habitat, most environmentalists can look in the mirror if they want to see the actual causality. Their crummy forest management practices are responsible for almost one million acres of charred forests annually in the Pacific Northwest.

The Mathematics Of Predation:

Earlier in this essay, we did the math using the published CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife numbers:

One (1) lion kills about 70 deer each year and eats about 50 of those. (The reason they kill more than they eat is that many times lions are chased off a kill by packs of coyotes or wolves, so the hungry lion has to kill again, plus female lions with cubs will kill deer without feeding to teach the cubs ‘’how to kill.”) According to the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, there are 6,000 mountain lions in California (and maybe a lot more than that). The math shows that lions kill approximately 420,000 deer in California each year!

When you start with an estimated (CA F&W) population of 445,000 deer in California, subtracting the 420,000 deer killed by lions in the state annually, yields a difference of just 25,000 deer! As we see, any failure in the birth and survival rate of new generations of deer would be catastrophic! The deer population in California is currently on the brink of a total collapse.

The over-predation of deer is so strikingly obvious; it strongly suggests that an “agenda” is in play. Otherwise, predator control measures would have already been put into action. Maybe the over-predation of deer is by design, and the decimation of the deer population is merely the next step in this plausible “design” to include deer as a “protected mammal”? If so, how would this impact hunters?

The economic loss related to decimated deer herds is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, when considered across the State of California. Deer hunting in America accounts for many tens of billions of dollars in revenue! This massive revenue stream is at serious risk across America and in California.

At some point, and very soon, people have to stand up and just hold the line on the fact that animals do not have more rights than people in America under the U.S. Constitution.

Forcing citizens to endure economic loss as well as the emotional trauma related to lion attacks that result in the injury or loss of farm/ranch animals, livestock, pets, and/or injury or death of a child, friend, or loved one (pursuant to the recent CA Code) before there is any action to protect the citizen and his/her property is intolerable!

Anyone, or any organization, who values encroaching lions more than the safety of people is suffering from some form of mental anomaly, and their opinions must be held in contempt by society. Also, contrary to what some misinformed legislators may think, no agency or state government can “legitimately” pass and enforce any law or regulation that separates Americans from their Constitutional rights.

Conservation is critical to the management of the people’s resources, including wildlife, but it must be carried out with some common sense and with respect for human lives.