Mountain lion kills seven alpacas - Ft. Bragg Advocate-News

Full story: Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Inside a 5-foot-tall wire fence, Elizabeth De Marchis stands with a group of curious alpacas on her property along Airport Road.
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1 - 20 of 44 Comments Last updated Aug 23, 2012
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Tammy

San Jose, CA

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#1
Sep 17, 2009
 
I live near Dana Gray and we have been on Mountain Lion alert for the past month or so. I am extremely concerned about this lion's odd behavior. Was there any inquiry as to why this lion would behave in such a manner?
Leah Tupper

Berkeley, CA

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#2
Sep 17, 2009
 
Oh, Elizabeth I am so sorry about your Alpacas. I know how special they are to you. I hope you loose no more.
ulogoni

San Jose, CA

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#4
Sep 20, 2009
 

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This went on for about six hours, even witnessing two kills and nothing further was done to protect the remaining alpaca until 5 more were killed.

Clue-by-four. You live in an area with defenseless, domestic prey animals and wild, hungry predators. Those alpaca should have been brought into a secure location every night.

Not only is this irresponsible animal husbandry, but it is also putting protected wildlife at risk. It's up to you to secure the animals in your care.

Claiming the cougar was not hungry is an ignorant statement. The cat was chased away. They are wary of man for good reason. S/he's not going to ignore you and eat. These are wild animals. The cougar returned because the cougar made a kill and was hungry. Finding the meat gone and driven by this hunger, more kills were made. Captive animals have an inability to flee. Most predators, living in a feast or famine existence, will continue to kill as much as possible and will return to carrion for weeks on end. Most wild, healthy prey are able to flee and so cougar would naturally be left with a single large kill. Until the belly is filled there will be hunger.

This should be obvious.

Most animals cannot sit and ponder how much food they will need in some foreign concept of future, with estimations of scavenger take or any number of random events that can unfold in the wilderness.
Jules

Ukiah, CA

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#5
Sep 20, 2009
 

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A mountain lion has been seen on Eureka Hill area of Pt Arena for several months now. It has come into yards, killed rabbits, and stalked the homes at night leaving prints around the perimeter of the homes in the dirt. The community needs to chip in together to hire a trackers and rid the community of this pest. We are unable to roam the property freely without carrying weapons. This is lunacy! Fish and game will do nothing. We as citizens must pay for the tracker out of our own pockets. If you are willing to chip in...Sound off in this forum. Thank you.
ulogoni

San Jose, CA

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#6
Sep 21, 2009
 
A cougar leaving tracks where the paws fall and eating rabbits, isn't lunacy. This is a people problem, not a wildlife problem.

If people would be responsible for their domestic animals and bring them in or otherwise secure them at night (a simple action)- the cougar would find no further attraction to "stalk homes at night" in search of the easy meals people have been treating her with. Another attraction for cougars venturing into town are fresh water sources. California is in drought and is having major water regulation issues.

You chose to live in an area that is home to a big cat species. Wilderness that is fragmented, degenerating and otherwise losing space. The cougar has not harmed people, but has shown you where your care could use some simple attention.

The fact that the first reaction is "destroy" as if an enemy is in your midst... THAT is lunacy. There is no reason for Fish and Game to follow through with a kill order. If you can rally enough energy to buy another needless death,(likely a temporary end at that) you could instead take a much simpler action of being more aware of your surroundings and bringing in domestic animals at night.

Otherwise you are attracting the wildlife and are going to continue to do so. Nature abhors a vacuum. It's like leaving large picnic baskets right outside your home with neon lights saying "Get your free food here!". If you've had a deal that good, you're sure to return. If your out of luck enough times, your belly will guide you elsewhere.

Common sense.

Cougars are a necessary part of various California ecosystems. They've evolved alongside the native flora and fauna here for tens of thousands of years. When you remove a keystone predator such as this you see the contrasting side of the trophic cascade.

Here is a link an article about one such study in Zion National Park, but there are others, including one that found the same results in Yosemite Valley: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/...

A good documentary detailing this effect is "Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators". You can view a trailer or two, here: http://www.lordsofnature.org/
john doe

San Francisco, CA

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#7
Sep 21, 2009
 
The ranchers down around Hollister have another solution. They don't wait for sheriff's deputies to kill the cougars; when they can do the same thing. Shoot! Shovel! STFU!

There was a big newspaper article about the cougar problem down there a few months ago.
king boy

AOL

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#8
Sep 22, 2009
 
Yeah those alpaca's had rights, but that damn cougar didn't believe it. I agree with george from oakland. Can't kill mountain lions, them being protected. next time vot e to kill the cougars.
Curious

Vacaville, CA

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#9
Sep 23, 2009
 

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As the constant home building and urbanization of land continues, so will the "problem" of having wild animals in your back yard. You choose to live in "the woods", but don't want what is naturally there ie wildlife. You know that there are bears out there too, right?
ulogoni

United States

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#10
Sep 24, 2009
 
Here come the delusional sorts spreading hysteria and promoting criminal activity against native wildlife.

If anyone has witnessed a poacher killing wildlife or has information that could lead to an arrest, you can win an award of up to $1000 by contacting Cal-TIP at: 1 888 DFG-CALTIP (888 334-2258), 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"CalTIP (Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters) is a confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide Fish and Game with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters."

For more info, please visit their website here: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/caltip.aspx
Karl Niemeyer

Hutchinson, MN

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#11
Sep 25, 2009
 
Just a reminder to people that they were here first.
Derek in FB

United States

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#12
Sep 25, 2009
 

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This was a completely avoidable tragedy, and all the long time Fort Bragg area locals know that mountain lions are everywhere around here, as we live adjacent to a huge forest.

Always lock up your animals at night inside a secure enclosure. I've seen the results of many lion attacks around here, and the lions can get over, or around, or break down many fences or walls, if they aren't constructed in a robust manner.

I've heard a first hand report of an adult lion less than 12 blocks from City Hall (Oak and Sanderson), and late at night I've personally seen the herds of deer wandering throughout town near Safeway and the A&W haul road, and also up near the news paper office on Franklin St, and near Cotton Aud..

I've seen Ms, De Marchis around town but don't recall if she's a long time resident or not, but clearly she wasn't thinking about large predators. The Lion was doing what comes naturally.
Novato Res

Novato, CA

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#13
Sep 28, 2009
 
Karl Niemeyer wrote:
Just a reminder to people that they were here first.
Yeah right, what kind of thinking is this...
mendo

Jackson St Forest, CA

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#14
Sep 28, 2009
 
Multiple sightings in the Willits incorporated area.These cats are hungry and thirsty this time of year.Everyone should be aware if you are out at dusk
ulogoni

United States

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#15
Sep 30, 2009
 
Novato Res wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah right, what kind of thinking is this...
It's big picture thinking. An estimated 12,500 puma were killed under the guise of predator control between 1907 and 1972. Since 1972, more than 1,600 puma have been killed in California under depredation permits.

They were here tens of thousands of years before people, and there were a lot more of them. There were also a lot more ungulates and habitat.
ulogoni

United States

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#16
Sep 30, 2009
 
Novato Res wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah right, what kind of thinking is this...
It's big picture thinking. An estimated 12,500 puma were killed under the guise of predator control between 1907 and 1972. Since 1972, more than 1,600 puma have been killed in California under depredation permits.

They were here tens of thousands of years before people, and there were a lot more of them. There were also a lot more ungulates and habitat.
OHBOY

United States

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#17
Sep 30, 2009
 
. I have watched many times coyotes and mountian lions hunt turkeys. The introdction of a non-native speacies such as the turkey has had a great impact. A easly hunted food soource for the preditors . One can look at DFG for screwing with the balance of nature all for some gain in hunting a non native wild turkey. More game more preditors. This cat was hungry and no doubt the cat poulation can support only so many . The result is starvation at some point for these cats. Thats when they are the most dangersous.
Jane

United States

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#18
Sep 30, 2009
 
If an animal is killing my $20,000 alpaca, I'd be shooting it. Even if it's the family dog.
Alpacas are worth alot, they live around 20 years, and they are kept as a business/livelihood.
Now she's lost tens of thousands of dollars worth of breeding females and studs. That's a loss to bloodlines, and a baby born per year per breeding female. Plus alpacas have memories and what they saw may cause behavioral issues for years to come.
If it were me, I'd be sure to have guard llamas (as she does), a shotgun, a spotlight, and consider keeping some sort of sacrificial animals like chickens that may be a tastier, easier morsel for the prey.
I am very sorry for your loss, and the alpaca community grieves for you.

Since: Sep 09

United States

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#19
Oct 1, 2009
 
If the alpaca are so important to her, maybe she will learn how to provide protective shelter for them. A simple step.

"Sacrificial animals" would be yet another ill move. For her and the puma. All this would do would encourage the cat to return to a place where easy meals are readily available.
OHBOY

United States

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#20
Oct 2, 2009
 
Very true guard dogs work wonders. I have only herad of a couple cases of cat kills on guard dogs. I do however fault our county for not funding the use of a county trapper. Some cats are bad cats and are not only a threat to livestock (Legal Industry) but also our public safety. Mendocino County has some of the highest populations of cats then anywhere in california. Granted they have right to roam and hunt. Cats starve to death. it is the natural balnce of things. They will however kill anything to feed themselfs.

Since: Sep 09

United States

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#21
Oct 3, 2009
 
Puma are not "bad" because they have preyed on domestic animals. They don't understand our complex concepts of boundaries, possessions, or labeling.

Cougars do not tell each other "This is my territory, do not enter." and leave it unguarded. They must be physically present to defend what they claim. Urine is a good indicator of that timely presence.

They do not have language or laws to tell them what a majority thinks is "good" or "bad" and what the consequences will be should they cross a line.

They do bury kills, anticipating that if they are not there and someone else senses it, it will be devoured by that someone else. Even if they are there, there is a chance they could be outmatched or otherwise unfit to defend a meal.

To expect mountain lions to honor something so intangible and beyond their understanding, and then to label them "bad" to help you feel justified in killing or promoting the killing of said wildlife, is asinine.

This particular cat killed unprotected alpaca, was witnessed killing alpaca, and was even able to return and kill more alpaca because the person who was supposed to be caring for her own animals did nothing further to shelter them.

At no point was this puma a threat to human life. In all of documented California history, it has been a rare event for the species to prey on people. At no point, in this particular case, was that a concern. The hungry cat was even chased.

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