A Southern California mountain lion tracked by scientists as part of a federal study was killed after state wildlife officials issued a permit to a rural property owner whose livestock was repeatedly attacked, officials said Monday.
The male cougar dubbed P-56 was suspected of feasting on animals at a property in Camarillo, within the Santa Monica Mountains northwest of Los Angeles. The owner reported nine depredation incidents resulting in the loss of 12 animals over a two-year period.
National Park Service biologists said they were informed that P-56 was killed on Jan. 27.
It’s the first time the Department of Fish and Wildlife granted permission to kill a big cat in the Santa Monica Mountains under California’s depredation law, officials said.
Hunting mountain lions is illegal in California, but the state may issue property owners permits to kill any big cats that have killed or injured domestic animals or damaged property.
P-56, estimated to be about 5 years old, had been tracked via radio collar since 2017 by researchers studying how the animals survive as urban areas encroach into wildland.
As required, the property owner first tried nonlethal methods to keep the mountain lion away — including keeping as many livestock as possible in an enclosed structure at night, penning any remaining livestock close to the barn and houses, and using trained guard dogs.