Mountain lions area fact of life in the beautiful rolling hills of the San Francisco Peninsula. Most of us know that where there are deer (a mountain lion's main food source) there are sure to be mountain lions. If we didn't want to be surrounded by greenery, birds, and wildlife, then we would have chosen to live in a more urban setting.
Have grown up in the Belmont hills, right next to the watershed reserve, I was treated to all sorts of wild life. From a constant onslaught of rattlesnakes to deer and quail quietly feeding in our backyard.
Throughout my adult life living in San Mateo, a constant conversation has woven it's way through the years, how to keep the deer out of our gardens. I have listened to some absurd (spreading Coyote urine sold at a local nursery or playing coyote calls on outdoor stereo) to some seemingly common sense (only plant purple flowers) ways to avoid a visit from Bambi. Either way, I always thought it was about keeping our gardens beautiful. I just recently started paying attention to the underlying fact. Mountain lions follow the deer.
Mountain lions are neither threatened nor endangered in California. They are however, legally classified as a "specially protected species" stemming from the passage of Proposition 117 in 1990. This status prohibits the Department of Fish and Game in California from recommending a hunting season for mountain lions as well as makes it illegal to possess, transport, etc. any mountain lion or part of.
Given Prop 117 still being in affect, I have to wonder what our California Fish and Game President, Daniel W. Richards, did with the large mountain lion he hunted and killed last week in Idaho.
It was reported in Western Outdoor News, that Mr. Richards was asked about California’s mountain lion moratorium, "Richards didn’t hesitate" the article states, “I’m glad it’s legal in Idaho.” Click here for a photo of the trophy and hunter but be cautioned, the hunter is happy and the big cat is dead!
I am not against hunting, nor am I a member of the NRA. I fish. I eat meat. I am somewhere between. But seeing the photo and apparent pride of our California leader in managing our natural resources gives me pause. Is he the unbiased President of Fish and Game I would hope? Maybe not. It was only hours before the Humane Society of the United States posted a request on their Facebook page asking readers to politely email the Fish and Game Commission asking a new President be appointed. Mr. Richards has also been an outspoken opponent of the Marine Life Protection Act which requires the state to improve the way it protects the ocean. Is there some fishing in his future this act is standing in the way of?
Perhaps it is time for Governor Brown to make an appointment to the Fish & Game Commission that respects California law and the implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act. And it might be time for the Legislature to remove Mr. Richards from the Commission. It might be time to appoint a person that at least publicly, represents the interests of California.
Just a thought.
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