Wardens Kill 2 Mountain Lion Cubs In Half Moon Bay

HALF MOON BAY (CBS SF) — Two young mountain lions were shot and killed by game wardens in Half Moon Bay on Saturday afternoon, a California Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

The mountain lions had taken refuge under the porch of a home in the 800 block of Correas Street on Friday, department spokeswoman Janice Mackey said.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office responded to the sighting and confirmed the presence of two “adolescent” mountain lions around 10 months old, each weighing between 25 and 30 pounds, Mackey said.

The animals had “blank stares” and did not try to hide or run away from the humans, she said.

Interview with Dept. of Fish and Game spokeswoman Janice Mackey:

“Wardens were noticing that the cats were displaying some odd behavior.  They were actually acting very habituated,” Mackey said.  “Normally when we encounter lions and we give them a way out, we never see them again.  These cats were acting very habituated, like they had been in the area quite awhile.”

The cats were in a neighborhood that is adjacent to a wildlife corridor leading to the Burleigh-Murray Ranch State Park.

In an effort to allow the cats a chance to go back into the wild on their own, game wardens advised the sheriff’s office to keep people and pets out of the area for about 24 hours, Mackey said.

However, when the cats were seen in the same neighborhood the next day, wardens responded to the scene and made the decision to shoot the animals in the name of public safety.

“DFG takes this very seriously.  This is always a last resort for us,” said Mackey.  “We gave the cats every opportunity to get out of there, but this was very much a public safety threat.”

Attempting to tranquilize the cats with a poke-stick or dart gun was not an option, given the close proximity of the animals to a populated neighborhood.

“Animals don’t go down right away,” Mackey said. “It can take two to three minutes or not work at all.”

Having two possibly agitated young mountain lions on the loose so close to people and pets posed too great a risk, she said.

The animals were destroyed at about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

A necropsy will be performed on the cats to determine their age and health condition.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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