State officials weigh policy change for mountain lion encounters

SAN FRANCISCO — An increase in the number of encounters between people and mountain lions has prompted state officials to consider giving game wardens more options besides shooting the animals, the San Francisco Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/Y5SpLM) Saturday.

A proposed new policy would give wardens more discretion to use non-lethal methods in handling the encounters, the newspaper said.

The draft policy introduced Friday by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife would also establish a team of experts from around the state for wardens to consult with in dealing with mountain lions.

The proposal comes after several encounters last year, including one incident in December that outraged residents of Half Moon Bay when rangers shot and killed two mountain lion cubs found under a deck of a home.

Game wardens said at the time they didn't try to tranquilize the cubs because of concerns they might escape and become a threat to public safety.

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