Mountain lions, by nature, have a strong aversion to humans. Unfortunately, that does not prevent the extremely rare encounters with the large cats. Even though attacks on humans have been few and far between (less than 60 attacks in the past hundred years, the vast majority of which were nonfatal), these attacks are 100% unacceptable and many of these majestic cats are put down for any attack on humans or pets and livestock. Even though we cannot change this strict policy, organizations have been established for a safer and more successful co-inhabitation of California. In particular, the government organization “Keep Me Wild” tries to spread awareness about how to avoid unfortunate encounters. On their website, they outline basic tips on controlling your behaviors and surroundings as to minimize the chances of drawing the mountain lion. Common sense things such as avoiding walking alone or letting out pets during the moutain lion’s active hours (dusk, dawn) and clearing your yard of food and plants that attract deer, which in turn attract the lions, are some of the points outlined. This organization is exemplary in its message of coexisting and being mindful of the wildlife that also has a right to live in the beautiful and rocky terrains of California.
The California Department of Fish and Game believe that there are between 4,000 and 6,000 mountain lions that are currently residing in the state. They believe this because back in 1972 they did a study and the CDFG acknowledges, “any statewide estimate of the mountain lion population is just a guesstimate and that without an ongoing statewide mountain lion study, it is impossible to know what is happening on a statewide basis with the lion populations”. At one time the mountain lions were classified as being a “bountied predator” from the years 1907 to 1963, a record of 12,461 mountain lions were killed and turned in for the bounty. Eventually in 1963 the bounty for the mountain lions was repealed and then the species was reclassified as a “non-protected mammal”. Then in 1969, they were reclassified again as a “game mammal” this was to manage the mountain lions through regulated hunting and to control supposed livestock damage. On June 5, 1990 with a 52.42 percent of the vote, which was officially known as the California Wildlife Protection Act, reclassified mountain lions in the state of California as a “specially protected mammal”, this permanently banned the sport of hunting of lions in the state. Since 1907 an estimated amount of 15,151 mountain lions have been killed by humans. This doesn’t include deaths from road accidents, secondary poisoning, kittens or injured adults euthanized by CDFG, death by unknown causes and poaching.