Just exactly how many Mountain Lions are still here in the Bay Area? Are there enough to not extinct them like we did the Grizzly Bear in the Santa Cruz Mountains just over 100 years ago?


The majestic Mountain Lion

There is a proposal being put together that addresses this issue that i hold dear.  It is a proposal to put into the books a new way to deal with wild predators that we come into contact with and, more specifically,  its effect on our own wild mountain lion population.

Now, if ever a mountain lion is spotted (even if it is in a thickly forested area), if it is seen, it is shot.  We kill on site.  If we can not find it, we go searching for it to kill it.

Why is this necessary?  Do we even know how large that population is?  Do they have enough animals not to go extinct if we kill each one that happens to wander into “human’s territory?”… wherever that may be?  How many used to be living here that we have displaced and or killed or just taken its habitat away? Why can we not just tranquilize these beautiful animals and transplant them into deeper forest and NOT kill them?  These are a few of the questions that wander through my mind.

beloved, feared and killed off… the grizzly bear.

I am especially sensitive to this because it has happened to the place i was raised already, before i was even born…and in the big picture not very long ago at all!

Not with mountain lions, but with bears.  Grizzly bears.

The terrain of the Santa Cruz Mountains. This being Mountain Charlie Road.

I grew up deep in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains.  These are lush, thickly forested in redwoods, eucalyptus, and fir trees with a lush ecosystem of many forms of life living within it.  It is fairly untouched and pristine land… despite the fact that without knowing it at the time, we extincted the native bear population within less than 50 years (probably less than 30 but dont quote me on that).

Mountain Charlie

One of the first people to develop the route from San Jose (actually Los Gatos on what is now Hwy. 17) was a man named Charles Henery McKiernan that was soon known as Mountain Charley due to him surviving TWO attacks or maybe we should call tussles with a Grizzley bear, ending him up with having a silver plate placed into his skull (it was first made of an alloy and he had a reaction with it that almost killed him yet again and had to have the plate removed from his skull and replaced with a silver coin made plate that was installed over the hill in Los Gatos.) .

He cleared a plot of land on the top of one of the mountains and built his homestead as well as (a very narrow, curvy and scary) road that still survives today.

Coming by way of stage coach. The roads were not the best…

It was a toll road and at that time, taking a horse and carriage over the mountains in the mud and muck was your only option to reach Santa Cruz.  Charlie’s wasn’t the only toll road.  And in fact, the toll crossing for this area was REALLY really expensive!

Mountain Charlie on right.

Santa Cruz Mountain railroad tunnel

Now, couldnt you just imagine how beautiful a grizzly bear would look in this awesome lush habitat!  It is so sad that they once did but now no more….

Mountain Charlie Road plaque.

Mountain Charlie Big Tree

Mountain Charlie

Santa Cruz Mountains toll road at Lexington.

A padre’ in Santa Cruz described the Santa Cruz mountains…

“The adjecent mountains were wild and rugged, the canyons deep and dark with the shadows of the forest. Coyotes broke the stillness with their dismal howls, and herds of deer slacked their thirst in the clear waters of the San Lorenzo. Grizzly bears were numerous, prowling about in herds, like hogs on a farm.”

This was bear country.  Bears, Coyotes, Mountain Lions, even possibly some wolfs.  It is hard to truly know what all the species that we have forced its displacement from and thus helping to extinct the species.  The men and women back then were just trying to protect themselves as well as their livestock on their homesteads and those bears were a danger.  It was a game of survival of the fittest and clearly man won.

Santa Cruz Mountain road

I dont think that if we knew then what we know now, we would have allowed that to happen.  Then again… we continue to blindly kill any Mountain Lion that comes into our path of vision even if we see them in a wilderness area that does not have any humans living within or around.  Basically if we find them, we kill them.

I think that this is very arrogant and ignorant way to approach this issue.  Once they are gone, they are gone forever.  We have already taken out so much of the natural habitat of other species, it just doesn’t seem necessary or fair to these species that help keep the ecology in balance.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz (Photo credit: alejandro_s_l)

Why cant we just live WITH these species?  Tranquilize them and remove them from the populated areas and put them deep back in the forest.  I am pretty sure these poor creatures are just as freaked out by us as we are intimidated by them.  They most likely do not want to be in an urban populated area, but we have made their hunting ground so small, they are probably just trying to find some food to survive… just like we would have done if it were us.

Stage coach through the Santa Cruz mountains.

We have been killing any animal that we perceive as another predator for a long time now.  We did it with the entire Santa Cruz Grizzly population, we do it with a population of Mountain Lions that we do not know the size the population is.  We even do it with an extremely endangered species that we have had in captivity for 20 years when it escaped when provoked and threatened….

I don’t know if you heard or remember about the 20 year resident tiger at the SF Zoo who was taunted by 3 boys and resulted in leaving its habitat and killing one of its taunters.  Then the tiger (an extremely rare Siberian) was shot dead.  SHOT DEAD!!  By either the sheriff’s dept. or by one of the zoo employees.

What i do not get is why we can not use a dart and tranquilize the animal to disarm it from being a threat to us and then secure the animal?  This seems like the responsible thing to do.  It seems like the fair thing to do.  It seems like the right thing to do.  It seems like we owe it to the few species left that we have not forced out already.

Escaped Tiger Kills Vistor to SF Zoo

Escaped Tiger Kills Vistor to SF Zoo (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

See… I guess gentrification takes a lot of different forms.  AND it has been going on for ages and ages.  If you ask a Native American, they can tell you a little thing about displacement.

Wow.  I suppose we even do it to our own species!  What is wrong with us?  Does it take an outside threat for the human race on planet earth to start being more ecological and logical with its life forms and come together?  Could we even do it then or is the human being just totally destructive and self destructive in general?

If you see anything coming up on anyone’s elections ever… PLEASE vote to not kill these animals.  It is time for our species to evolve and killing everything in site is just not the way to do it!!

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About bluepearlgirl's world

Hello. My actual name is Emelie. I am an artist in San Francisco. I started out my early life deep in the Santa Cruz mountains. I left Santa Cruz shortly after graduating High School in 1992 and moved up to the city. I have been in sf ever since and more specifically Bernal Hts. since 2009. I work in a number of mediums usually depending on the space i have to work in. In SF that can vary greatly! I look forward to sharing my thoughts, observations and photos with you all. Hopefully at the very least i will give you a little chuckle once and a while. Thank you for stopping and reading my little blog. I encourage all who stops by to leave comments. I will read them all and appreciate the time you spend with me! Sincerely to you all! Emelie (aka, Bluepearlgirl) To see some of my artwork, please check out www.artwanted.com/emelie ........... Another blogger Mskatiekins sums my blog up pretty well... here is what she said.... "BluePearlGirl’sWorld – This is one diverse blog. This sassy gal tackles big issues as well as posting funny and uplifting little pick-me-ups. I’d love to learn more about you and your art/creativity!"

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