SANTA CLARA (KPIX) – It’s a conflict that’s as old as the West: Cattle ranchers versus mountain lions.
The La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve formed in the 1980s, but cattle have grazed this land for nearly two centuries and mountain lions have been here all along. Now, ranchers are concerned that some lions are repeat offenders attacking the cattle.
The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is proposing a three strikes plan, considering issuing permits to shoot the problem cats.
“The three strikes is being considered as part of this first draft of the policy, as one of many different tools and there will be a long public process. I don’t know if that will be part of the final policy or not,” Leigh Ann Gessner, spokesperson for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District explains.
Tiffany Yap is a Wildlife Scientist for the environmental group, Center for Environmental Diversity. She says her organization disagrees with the proposed lethal force.
“These lands were set aside for conservation purposes so it doesn’t make sense to kill lions for the sake of livestock.”
There are now 80 mountain lions that have been tagged with tracking collars. Since 2013, there have been 22 documented livestock kills by mountain lions, while the lions have also taken 348 deer.
The public comment period is expected to last well into next year before any decisions are made.