Uproar over permitted killing of mountain lion living above Malibu

Plans to destroy a mountain lion that killed 11 alpaca and a goat last weekend is drawing a lot of pushback, including from defenders who argue that the animal was merely doing what mountain lions do.

- A barn was filled to the brim Wednesday night for a meeting about mountain lions, the majority of people attending were outraged over the permitted killing of a lion known as P-45.

“We just don’t feel that this assault on this particular lion is necessarily the best way to go,” Malibu resident Karen Simer said.

The permit was issued after resident Victoria Vaughn-Perling said P-45 was responsible for the slaughter of at least 10 alpaca’s on her property Saturday night.

After criticism from the community, Vaughn-Perling said through her lawyer she’s now asking the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to allow her to trap the animal and have him sent to live at a wildlife sanctuary instead.

“Victoria wants it relocated and we’ve arranged for the Wildlife Way Station to accept the animal,” lawyer Reid Kreitman said. “I understand that there is a lot of opposition to that.”

Activists said they don’t want the lion trapped, or shot, but want it to stay free.

“We are in their territory and when we have animals. It’s our responsibility to keep our animals safe from the mountain lions who will behave like mountain lions do,” Topanga Canyon resident Beth Burnam said.

Experts said the best protection is to build large cages to house livestock.

“Typically it needs to be 12 feet high two feet into the ground with a two foot overhang,” Kate Kuykendall, National Parks Service Spokesperson, said.

But rancher Wendell Phillips, who has also lost livestock to P-45, said fencing his property violates codes with other government agencies. He’d like to find another solution.

“I don’t want to put him in zoo, if I was a mountain lion I’d rather be dead than be in a zoo,” Phillips said. “I think we’d ought to relocate him for awhile and see if the problem goes away.”

Other experts said removing the mountain lion from the area doesn’t help because large cats will return to territory that’s familiar.

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