Letter: Living With A Mountain Lion

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Our visitor (a male mountain lion) is here by choice, and here’s hoping Laguna will embrace him, as was LA’s now beloved P-22 male lion of Griffith Park. Our visitor cat returns after being caught in Irvine months prior, collared and then released into Cleveland National Forest but the cat came all the way back here.

He wants to be here and doesn’t have competition, if he can manage the smaller range (like P-22) or continue to navigate around freeways and development, maneuvering across the limited wilderness available to him. He must learn to beware of direct engagement.

Unfortunately, Orange County has a difficult history with these cats, per events in the 1980’s at Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park, and also in the early 2000’s. It’s been about 20 years since we had one of these beautiful animals in the Laguna Greenbelt. LA’s P-22 shows us that humans and these cats can sustain a balance, but it requires public education and the responsible practices of residents nearby and visitors to the wilderness zones. Can OC manage it?

Our responsibility to biodiversity is in danger of being overshadowed by fear of the past, and challenged by Orange County’s expansive developments that have fractured and choked our wild spaces. Laguna (in partnership with our city neighbors) can do better.

Noah Fullerton, Laguna Beach

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