Posted by Sally, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Hills neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm
Mt. Lions are not predators of people. We are in their territory. They were here first. They have every right to live naturally, just as much as you and I. Maybe you should be tranquilized and neutered. I'm just kidding, but you really need to respect wildlife more. We need to learn to co-exist, especially as we encroach more and more on their territory. What would you like to do, kill them all? Then you would complain about too many deer in your yard.
Convince each one of the families of an injury or fatal attack your theory. Look at Peter Carpenters post on a previous related story. It is romantic to believe you, but Fantasy Land is in Anaheim. Don't worry, old age has taken its toll.
Posted by Fred, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm
There hadn't been gas pipeline explosions in San Bruno either. The ostrich approach will prove folly. There have been so many sitings that the lion to human interaction is coming. If DFG had an easy target, the should have taken it. It is the cats that do not fear humans which are the dangerous ones. Hey, live and learn as history repeats...and for some the it is unforgiving.
Posted by jackrabbit, a resident of the Portola Valley: Westridge neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm
Greaaaat. Live and let live. Finally some sense by government officials. If the animals are threatening to you and you are afraid, MOVE. They DO keep the deer population in check and, in turn, your roses might make it through another season.
Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm peter carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Fred states:"It is the cats that do not fear humans which are the dangerous ones."
Absolutely correct. And as is documented in Beast in the Garden the only way to make mountain lions fear humans is to aggressively drive them away from human territory EVERY time that they encounter humans. Since they are solitary animals killing them has no learning value for the remaining animals. If we want to preserve the mountain lions then them must relearn their fear of humans; if they don't relearn their fear of humans then the only safe method of dealing with them when they threaten humans is, sadly, to kill them.
Playing pussy cats with mountain lions is a lose-lose strategy.
Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm peter carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Bob asks:"What does Boulder have to do with Woodside. What were the details of the Boulder attack"
Read Beast in the Garden by Holder.
“The theme of the artificiality of the wilderness around Boulder runs throughout The Beast in the Garden, as does the idea that by romanticizing this artificial wilderness and its supposed 'naturalness,' Boulder's citizens were shirking their responsibility to manage it properly and were refusing to understand their role in creating the conditions that had led to the return of cougars.”
“Weaving together deep research, meticulous reporting, vivid characterization, disciplined prose, informative political and historical asides, lucid science, incisive wit, and narrative pacing as smooth and suspenseful as a stalking mountain lion, Baron has created a wily page-turner....”
The root of the problem is, as Baron documents so well in his book Beast in the Backyard, that mountain lions no longer fear humans. Since they are protected in California there is no reason for them not to push into human territories and that is exactly what they are doing.
The experience in Boulder Colorado where the residents encouraged mountain lions to 'share' their space with humans resulted in the mountain lions losing their fear of humans. The mountain lions became comfortable around humans and started eating their dog food and then their dogs. Finally a mountain lion attacked and killed an adult human.
The solution was a vigorous program of reinstilling fear of humans into the mountain lion population. This involved attacking them with painful but non lethal substances whenever the mountain lions encountered humans. The mountain lions learned to avoid humans and human spaces. Killing a mountain lion produces no such learning as they are solitary animals and hence there are no other mountain lions to witness and learn from such a killing.
Baron's Beast in the Garden describes how the Boulder community learned to deal with this problem without having to kill the mountain lions. But it took a human death to convince the humans that they had to stop playing pussy cat with wild animals.
But I suspect, as usual, we will continue to think that we are special and where we live is unique and that there is nothing to be learned from other communities who have dealt with this problem.
"This page links to a list of mountain lion attacks on people in California (but only through 2003), and another complete list of all such attacks in the U.S.(but only through 2003). If you know of an attack not listed here, please email me for attacks in California, or my coauthor Linda Lewis for attacks outside of California.
I define an attack as one that involves physical contact by mountain lions on people. This does not include an encounter, where a mountain lion may threaten a person, but does not result in physical contact. Nor does it include a sighting, which usually involves no threatening action by the cougar.
Mountain lions are known by many names: cougar, panther, and puma. The "lion" term is due only to their color; in fact cougars are more closely related to leopards than to lions. In the text below, lion will always refer to cougar.
Mountain lion attacks on people apparently increased dramatically since 1986. For example, in California, there were two fatal attacks in 1890 and 1909, and then no further attacks for 77 years, until 1986. From 1986 through 1995, nine verified attacks occurred, an average rate of almost one per year. Attacks were numerous enough to form a support group for attack victims, called California Lion Awareness (CLAW; Outside, 10/95).
Mountain lion sightings have increased dramatically as well, from 59 in 1991 to over 300 in 1994 in California. However, because of a number of reasons, perhaps 80% of all lion sightings are actually deer, bobcats, dogs, and even domestic cats. Part of any increase in sightings is also surely due to the heightened awareness of lions with the increase in attacks. Of course, this means 20% of all mountain lion sightings are of actual mountain lions!
Posted by get a grip, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm
The following was cribbed from an Amazon.com review of the above book (don't even get me started about how many people are killed and injured by automobiles in the U.S. every year...):
Encounters with cougars are rare and the risk of injury or death from an attack is infinitely small. In fact, your chances of being attacked or killed by a domestic dog are much, much greater. DFG statistics show that, in the last 20 years, hunting accidents killed more than 85 Californians and injured 700. In the last 100 years, only 14 fatal cougar attacks occurred on the entire North American continent. In that time, more than 15,000 people were killed by lightning; 4,000 by bees; 10,000 by deer; 1,300 by rattlesnakes. Yosemite National Park has cougars plus 3 million visitors a year. There has never been an attack in the park's history. More visitors have died from rockslides. On the list of daily "dangers" faced by Californians, cougars are but a footnote.
Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm peter carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Get a grip cites accurate statistics but the issue being heatedly debated is how to deal with mountain lions that move into places of human habitation (granted they we actually moved into their space first). There is a low probability that they will kill someone but does that justify killing them on sight?
Some say kill them, others say don't kill them.
In fact the answer is neither of the above but rather to reinstill fear of humans in the mountain lion population.