Did Game Wardens Have to Kill Cougar Cubs?

What is wrong with these people? This story concerns the killing of two small mountain lion cubs by game wardens in the area of Half Moon Bay, California, USA.

I presume the wardens, from the California Department of Fish and Game, are two men (it makes little difference if they aren’t). The average American man weighs about 190 pounds. These two cougar cubs weighed about 25+ pounds each. That is 13% of the weight of each man (assuming they are an average weight). Or put it another way, each man weighed more than 7 times the weight of each cub.

Cougar Cubs

Cougar Cubs. Link to original.

I know wild cats are strong and even wild cat cubs that weigh no more than a really large domestic cat can bite and so on…but come guys, did you really have to shoot these cubs? How about wearing the correct clothing and grabbing them with a device if they are cornered?

The cubs were probably orphaned. They were probably orphaned because someone shot their mother or their mother was killed on the roads. And then we, the almighty all conquering human race, have to go and finish off the killing – don’t we love killing –  by killing the cubs as well. It makes me mad and sad. I have a feeling helplessness and hopelessness for the wild cats of America when I read this sort of stuff.

We are told that the wardens requested a pole with a syringe on the end to deliver a tranquillizer. They didn’t wait for it so shot them instead. Convenient I guess.


Are these people just scared of 25 pound cats? Or was it the possibility of rabies. I am presuming that rabies was a big factor in killing them. However, I feel this is an horrendous act of wanton destruction and very cruel.

As far as I am aware in the past 100 years, yes 100 years, there has only been one (yes a single incidence) of a person contracting rabies from a cougar. So we have to disregard the possibility of getting rabies from these cubs. Also I presume wardens are vaccinated against rabies.

Mission Statement

That leaves absolutely no reason that I can see for killing two little cubs. It is a dereliction of duty. What is the remit of the California Department of Fish and Game?

Well this is it:

The Mission of the California Fish and Game Commission is, on behalf of California citizens, to ensure the long term sustainability of California’s fish and wildlife resources

How are you going to achieve that mission if you go around shooting 25 pound mountain lion cubs because you’re a bit scared of them? Are there protocols and methods in place to deal with mountain lion cubs properly? Why didn’t they call Wild Rescue who are geared up to deal with this sort of incident properly and in the interests of the cats and humans?

Adult Cougars

A lot of experts say that you don’t even have to shoot a full adult cougar. With appropriate techniques you can scare them off. They are a said to be shy animals. Some people tame and domesticate the mountain lion which gives an indication as to the cat’s nature.

Preserve Life

Personally, I have grave doubts about the mentality of these wardens. They are likely to be people who like to hunt. The employees of any government department concerned with preserving and managing wildlife should be well-rounded people who actually have a desire to protect wild life and find a sensible balance between wild life and human settlements and activities.

The priority should be to preserve life wherever and whenever possible. The mountain lion is already under considerable pressure from humans and its population is declining in the US.

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Did Game Wardens Have to Kill Cougar Cubs? — 6 Comments

  1. Poor little cubs with no mama. It’s heartbreaking. I signed a petition about this – requesting something be done about it. Chances are though that the wardens will not even have to apologize. Hopefully a petition of thousands of signatures will force them to be reprimanded in some way or other. If law and nature and other government officers/wardens continue to not really get in any trouble for this sort of thing then surely they will continue to do it. It gives the wrong message to let them off. They should pay with something close to losing their jobs and then next time when something like this comes up the wardens involved will think good and hard about how best to deal with it. F***ing A***oles. Sorry, but they were just little babies and I feel it to be a tragedy of epic proportions that they did this to lost and scared little ones. 🙁

    • I just realized how stupid I sound. There I am saying they should be punished so next time wardens think twice. That basically means humans have to be encouraged to do right and the only way is to use their self interest to motivate them thusly. But actually Michael is right. The right sort of people should be hired in the first place. They shouldn’t have to have punishment waved in front of them so they can make wise choices. Moreover they should care. It should matter. They should get in trouble for taking risks to protect them actually – rather than getting in trouble for killing them. And furthermore they probably won’t even get in trouble. How depressing is that! It’s an awful terrible terrible situation that people who work in animal control and who work with animals are the ones who abuse their rights the most. It doesn’t make sense. Something has to be done! It’s just so criminal.

    • Rose, I agree. We are miserable. We are horrible. When will we have some respect for wildlife? I’ll be brutally honest. This sort of thing depresses me. It makes me want to give up.

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