This is the third letter I have written concerning mountain lions and the recent killing of a young mother cougar and cubs. I tried in the first two to make it clear that I definitely like mountain lions. I just do not like situations like having to kill a young cougar mom and her three cubs, or situations in which people are killed. Jenny Allen’s letter led me to realize what I was not saying. So, I’ll try again.
Which parts of California are not mountain lion range? Just the deserts are not, and even along the edges of the deserts cougars can hunt. I live within Placerville city limits and in the empty lot behind my house there are four deer, one a 4-point buck. I love seeing them and say to myself that they are more beautiful than my roses and so I do not chase them away, a bad move on my part. Their presence proves that Placerville is cougar habitat. A home in Diamond Springs would also qualify if we are going to follow through on the idea of people invading cougars’ natural habitat. We are all invading cougar’s natural habitat. The problem is that increasing numbers of cougars will force them into closer contact with people who are not out in the forest, bothering cougars. My grandfather used to tell stories about organizing cougar hunts to drive them out of the Santa Clara Valley in the 1920s.
The point that I am trying to make is that if we want to avoid killing young cougar moms and their cubs, or having people preyed upon, we are going to have to limit population growth of mountain lions. I do not hunt myself, but I would much rather have a licensed hunter kill grown cougars within the forest than see three baby cougars killed anywhere. Thinking about the struggling, hard-working, young mother cougar being shot, and then her three offspring killed also, makes me sick.
If you read in my previous letter about the steps I take to be relatively safe from cougars when I am at my family home in the forest, then you may realize that you do not want to have cougars in your backyard. But, right now, in many areas of El Dorado County, I’ll bet you do. And before you ask: a successful cougar is not seen, even by its dinner.
P.S. Jenny Allen, cougars cannot just use contraceptives or keep it in their pants.