Reward increases in mountain lion poaching death
A reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of poachers who killed a mountain lion last month in the Santa Monica Mountains has risen to $11,700 thanks to new donations from a Southland city and two nonprofit groups.
Shocked by at the brutality of the slaying, the city of Calabasas agreed to match the original $5,000 reward, while the Ventura County-based Animal Rescue Team Inc. pledged $1,500 and San Diego's Mountain Lion Foundation contributed an additional $200, according to information released by the California Department of Fish and Game. The anti-poaching group Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters, commonly known as the CalTIP Foundation, offered the initial $2,500. This sum was jointly matched by the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust.
"Our community is stunned that someone would intentionally kill one of our rare mountain lions," Calabasas Councilwoman Mary Sue Maurer said in a statement. "We are determined to do everything we can to bring the perpetrator to justice."
Wildlife officials were alerted by a caller to the discovery of the dead lion on Sept. 11. Wardens determined the lion did not die of natural causes and launched an investigation, the Department of Fish and Game said.
Mountain lions are designated as a "specially protected mammal" in California and it is illegal to hunt or trap them, officials said.
Anyone with information related to the lion's death is urged to call the CalTIP hotline at 1-888-334-2258.
-- Ann M. Simmons
Photo: Mountain lion P-15, shown in a photo taken by remote camera, had been tracked for nearly two years by National Park Service scientists. Credit: National Park Service