District stops weighing rule on 'lethal removal' of mountain lions, coyotes

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space holding public meeting in Mountain View on Dec. 17

Activists applauded a decision by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District that eliminates the possibility of "lethal removal" of mountain lions from its lands in the South Bay.

The agency, which manages nearly 65,000 acres of open space, was considering a "three strikes" rule to kill mountain lions and coyotes that fail to respond to efforts to stop their predation on livestock on district land. The district has 11,000 acres it leases for grazing, staff said.

"As a conservation agency, Midpen prioritizes wildlife protection," district General Manager Ana Ruiz said. "As a land management agency, our conservation grazing partners are asking for help in managing these conflicts. Based on input from our wildlife advocacy partners and the public at and after our Oct. 22 board committee meeting, we are no longer exploring a three-strikes option currently being used to protect mountain lions in Southern California. We are continuing our current practice of prohibiting lethal removal of mountain lions and coyotes on Midpen lands now and into the future."

The announcement was a reversal of a plan being considered on district lands in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

"We're glad to see Midpen officials dropping the truly terrible idea of killing Bay Area mountain lions," said Tiffany Yap, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. "This wise decision supports the open space district's goals of conserving the area's native species and rich biodiversity, as the public wanted when they voted to conserve these lands.

"We look forward to working with Midpen and other stakeholders to help protect imperiled mountain lions. Any grazing practices allowed need to be compatible with native wildlife and animal habitats."

The district will hold a public-input meeting on addressing predator-livestock conflict on Dec. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Mountain View Community Center, 201 S. Rengstorff Ave. in Mountain View.

"By working together to find new and better ways region-wide to reduce predator-livestock conflicts, we also reduce the pressure of lethal removal that mountain lions and coyotes face on private land, resulting in overall greater protection for both livestock and native predators," the district said in an announcement.

The district said its grazing program, conducted in collaboration with small-scale local ranchers, helps protect native grasslands while managing vegetation growth to reduce wildfire risk and support local agriculture.

"Options that Midpen is continuing to explore include reimbursements for livestock losses, reduced rental rates and predator deterrents (e.g., noise/visual deterrents, guard animals, fencing and modifications to grazing operations)," the district said.

More details about the issue are available at

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7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 25, 2019 at 4:03 pm

Can't the ranchers just buy insurance for these kinds of losses? I read in another newspaper that the number of animals killed by mountain lions is really small.

4 people like this
Posted by Use tax money to pay lions
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 26, 2019 at 3:28 am

Use tax money to pay lions is a registered user.

The Mountain Lions are the natives. They should be paid for the trouble of dealing with the Open Space District.

3 people like this
Posted by Land Use
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2019 at 4:55 pm

Agreeing to living with and not harass or harm the wildlife should be a precondition of using these lands.

Anyone who ranches should know that first and foremost this land is set aside for conservation and it’s use is contingent on the ranchers agreeing to respect this and report any rule breaking.

Like this comment
Posted by Steven A.
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 26, 2019 at 8:16 pm

They are marvelous animals but known to attack humans. If land is granted to wildcats then humans can't roam there safely.

6 people like this
Posted by Always be open to discussion
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2019 at 6:08 am

People got all worked up because the District decided to keep an open mind and listen to and discuss a request. That alone set people off. After some discussion it sounds like they came to an easy decision which most people are fine with.

Never say never and always have an open mind. Nothing should be barred from discussing, and that's all they did here: they listened with an open mind to a land partner's request and discussed it, then came to (IMO) the correct decision. They never once had a plan to do this, all they did was talk about it because a partner brought it up. They were also 100% transparent to the public about what they were doing.
You can stop running around, screaming and waving your arms now, the grownups took care of things.

7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 27, 2019 at 11:13 am

You have to put risks in perspective. According to Google, no human in the Bay Area has been killed by a mountain in more than 100 years. That was around the same time that the last human was killed by a wild grizzly bear in the Bay Area. Compare that to the number of humans killed by motor vehicles. I don't hear anyone calling for the lethal removal of motor vehicles.

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