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Two Mountain Lions Died Of Starvation After Wildlife Officials Relocated Them To The Desert

Two male mountain lions were relocated hundreds of miles away from their natural habitat. They attempted to return home and died of starvation.

Two male mountain lions died of starvation after California Fish and Wildlife officials moved them from their natural habitat in the eastern Sierra Nevada to the Mojave Desert, hundreds of miles away.

According to a recently released Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program report, the big cats, L147 and L176, attempted to make the long trek back to their home, and their mates, but the journey proved to be fatal, with one cat dying along the way, and the other being found gaunt and near death, too emaciated to be saved.

The cats were transplanted to the Mojave Desert after a mountain lion attack on Bighorn Sheep. Tom Stephenson, a senior environmental scientist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has since admitted that the decision to relocate the lions was a mistake:

“In hindsight, it wasn’t a good place to release those lions. And we’re not moving them to that environment anymore.”

The report indicates that the decision to move the mountain lions lacked critical considerations:

‘More important and practical factors which should influence mountain lion behavior, such as prey availability and habitat familiarity, received less consideration,’

Public comments about the government’s failed experiment have been justifiably harsh.

“They were removed from their habitat for what? Lions can’t survive in the desert. This is animal cruelty. Where is the outrage.”

And:

“I am sick, crying, thinking about the cruelty, and the painful deaths experienced by these living creatures, just trying to go home to their families and homes. Think about the pain of starving to death…”

Questioning how the act was not criminal:

If you transport and animal to an unfamiliar environment and let it starve to death, you would go to jail. If a state wildlife official does it, they just put their hand up and say my bad.

According to the report, further relocation of male mountain lions will be discontinued.

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43 COMMENTS

    • Yes, absolutely hideous. These people should be fined.
      But don’t believe, even if they are not, or not terminated, that nothing will happen to them.
      This is a BIG BLACK MARK that will follow them-and their careers-all their lives.

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  1. It is appalling how little wildlife officials and others, such as those who work in some zoos, marine parks, really know about animals. It was cruel and irresponsible and they should be shown the door to find other work. What they did was cruel and they need to suffer the consequences of their actions. The USFWS kills thousands of animals every year.

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    • HEARTBREAKING for Lions’ terrible suffering — You’d think Officials in Authority would KNOW better — we have BIG CAT Sanctuaries — it seems more as if this were an act of depraved indifference & NOT caring about the wellbeing of the LIONS — we have BIG CAT Sanctuaries —

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    • Write your legislators and tell them to stop supporting any bill that would harm any species we have remaining. Actions from some has already led to the extinction of too many animals. NO more!!!

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  2. They should all be fired!! What were they thinking? No they weren’t thinking about the welfare of these animals!! Idiots!!

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  3. A mistake, yeah sure, it was actually your damn arrogance which put two animals through hardship, distress and cost them their lives

    Those responsible should suffer the same fate.

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  4. This breaks my heart! Such cruelty and suffering. Not to mention arrogant and ignorant! Those involved in the decision to relocate these beautiful big cats should be held accountable!!! 😭🥵😤🤯

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  5. I am at a loss of words to understand how these so called wildlife professionals could be so brain dead as to think these MOUNTAIN lions could survive in the desert. Mountain is the key word here – that is their habitat not the fucking desert These Assholes should be fired for displaying nothing less than utter idiocy, cruelty and irresponsibility. There is no excuse for this.

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    • we have BIG CAT Sanctuaries — it seems more as if this were an act of depraved indifference & NOT caring about the wellbeing of the LIONS — we have BIG CAT Sanctuaries —

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  6. HEARTBREAKING for Lions’ terrible suffering — You’d think Officials in Authority would KNOW better — we have BIG CAT Sanctuaries — it seems more as if this were an act of depraved indifference & NOT caring about the wellbeing of the LIONS — we have BIG CAT Sanctuaries —

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  7. A mistake? How many of you educated idiots allowed this?? It would have passed under many noses before occuring!! American Fish and Wildlife Officials are always making these errors frequently and the animals suffer??? Are these humans all morons? Where do these people get educated?? Are they even educated?? 😳 A child would even know that this was wrong??
    Another American Authority that is a COMPLETE JOKE. It’s a shame that these “Officials” get away with this repeatedly and nobody changes these bullshit systems!!! 😤
    EVERY PERSON that was involved in these actions should be charged and fired!!! (But we know that won’t happen!)

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    • They need to be prosecuted and charged for their actions. This is cruelty and neglect. They should be given lifetime in prison.

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  8. These people are political appointees usually as a favor they only care about there pay check and of course keeping the Ranchers happy. They could careless how these two Cats suffered and died
    Hey I got a great idea let’s relocate him to the same are with no food and water and see how he does.

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  9. After the tears and the outrage, everyone reading should share this to socials. Public outrage counts for little in these dire times, but at least more people will know what their tax dollars are being spent on.
    And those responsible WILL face Justice, not on this earth, but in due time. Be sure of it.

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  10. Very foolish move!! Cruel to dump them just as cruel as dumping a dog or cat in unfamiliar territory!! Theywiuld have kept close track of them and left deer carcasses for food until they got use to the new territory! A fool should know they would head home to their mates!!😡😡

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  11. OMG! Fish and Wildlife never save anything! All they know how to do is kill! Most of them are hunters anyway. I bet they didn’t even bother to talk to the experts before they did it!

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  12. why are these people who did this not fired? They are suppose to know what they are doing. Or were they hired just to fill a diversity quota? FIRE THEM! And put them in the desert…

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  13. No Excuse Here!!!!!! Their appalling horrible deaths should haunt them forever!!! This was an obvious act of Severe Cruelty and Callous Disregard for them ENTIRELTY!!! SEEMS PURPOSELY DONE TO ME, WE’RE NOT STUPID!!! Consequences to fit this “CRIME,” in my opinion so needed!!!!!!!!!

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  14. The people who makes these decisions should be experts, which they are not. So because of their lack of expertise they didn’t know that lions can not survive in a desert, which would only make common sense. Animals always suffer when decisions like this are made to placate certain people. It makes me think of the horrendous helicopter roundups and the removal of thousands of wild horses from public land to make ranchers and mining interests happy. 39 horses died in the last roundup in the Antelope complex in Nevada. It’s infuriating!

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  15. I’m 86 years old and have observed California government in action for most of my life. I am sorry to say this, but its civil servants are a collection of fat, ineffective bureaucrats. As an animal lover and former operator of a turtle rescue operation for 30 years, I have watched in horror as what I call the California Fish and Anti-Wildlife Commission has made rotten decisions after rotten decisions–usually in favor of land developers and lobby interests. Make no mistake: They are NOT there to protect the fish and wildlife!
    Let me say this again: They are not there to protect fish and wildlife! They are there to protect landowners and others with powerful lobbyists in Sacramento.

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    • I researched this further.
      Businessman Eric Sklar is the president of the California Fish and Wildlife Commission. Professionally, he is a vintner and also created and operates one of the largest producers of marijuana in California. A UC Berkeley graduate with advanced degrees from elsewhere, he said he started using  pot as a high school student. He heads a cannabis  growers’ association. Hunting is one of his favorite  hobbies.
      In an interview with Forbes magazine, Sklar stated, ” The [Fish and Wildlife] Commission’s mission is to protect California’s marine and wildlife and both are under severe threats.”
      Recently, with Sklar’s approval, the two California mountain lions that had eaten some sheep were captured and relocated the Mojave Desert where they starved to death. You read the story.
      Fact is: This department is really concerned with the interests of land developers, large-area land-owners, people who control water rights and generous lobbyists! They do not give a damn about wildlife and their record shows that. BTW, Sklar was appointed by the governor and had been a lifelong supporter of Democrat candidates. Usually, it’s the Republicans who get blamed for animal abuses. But it’s a non-partisan crime. BTW, I am a former political writer for the Associated Press, based in Sacramento! Back then, it was called the Fish and GAME Commission. That name should be a clue!

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  16. Stevenson should be fired and put in jail for purposely rehoming those poor lions that had nothing to eat and nowhere to go!!!!Shame on him and all the others who organized that heinous cruel act, may they all die similarly especially to starve to death! That whole department and the administrators are accountable!! Fine and jail the scum!!!

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    • Lisa, the employees are civil servants. They cannot be fired unless they stop working or commit serious felonies. And it’s hard to punish stupidity. Your anger is a little over the top. Kinda like “lynch the whole gang.”
      You can blame Governor Gavin Newsom. He appointed the head of the F&W Commission.

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  17. “Ah, well, maybe we shouldn’t’ve done that.” —— WERE YOU DUMB FUX NOT TRAINED IN HOW TO DO YOUR STINKING JOBS?!?!?!?!
    If i pulled an “Oops, I shouldn’t have done that” at my flippin’ job I’d be fired. — And here we have supposed wildlife professionals dealing with SENTIENT BEINGS acting like this is all just a big “Whoops. Whatever.”

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  18. Completely cruel and disgusting. Those big cats deserved much better. The idiots who relocated them should be terminated immediately from their jobs. A drunk college freshman has more sense……

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  19. More idiots in a job they are unqualified for, wildlife management is one of the worst managed departments, they need to fire everyone and fill position with competent people who really care about their job and helping wildlife instead of killing and harming them. No excuse for , for this kind of stupidity in these high paying jobs. Shame on California, they should be held accountable.

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  20. Horrible & cruel decision! The mountain lions were doing what comes naturally. There has to be a balance between species without relocating them.

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  21. Hello hunting bighorn sheep and anything else that moves in Mountain Lion range is normal behavior for those cats. It should have never resulted in them being removed and relocated. What freaking idiots are working at Fish and Game? Where is the biologist or big cat specialist and their input on relocating cats to the god forsaken desert in the first place? Unbelievable idiots! Those cats died a horrible death because some asshole decided it was a good idea to move them away from the only home they have ever known. And for what, so some the bighorn sheep can repopulate only to be taken by trophy hunters later on under the guise of conservation? Big cats hunt and kill – circle of life. They kill to eat and survive, where man just kills for fun and to mount trophy heads in the living room.

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  22. These evil officials deserve the death penalty! They are brainless scumbags and they are the reason that these poor animals lost their lives!!!

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