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Local mountain lion P-45 may have escaped the death penalty - for now




Screenshot of the 4-year-old male, dubbed P-45, that is believed to have killed about a dozen farm animals.
Screenshot of the 4-year-old male, dubbed P-45, that is believed to have killed about a dozen farm animals.
NBC L.A.

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A gruesome scene was discovered in the Malibu Hills last weekend. Ten alpacas were found dead at a ranch along Mulholland Highway. Another Alpaca and a goat were also killed in the area.

According to Jordan Traverso, a spokesperson with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, it was the culprit is believed to be one of LA's favorite animal celebrities, the mountain lion known as P-45.

Although, it should be made clear, the identity of the lion has not yet been confirmed. Traverso said that at the time of the killings, he was in the general vicinity because of information associated with the animal's tracker.

In response, state officials issued a special permit to the land owner who lost the 10 Alpacas, which allows her to hunt down and kill the mountain lion she believes to be responsible for the deaths of the animals. Traverso explained this is standard practice in the case of farm animals killed by the big cats. 

Given the possibility that P-45 did the killing, the cat's celebrity status could be what saves it. There's been a public uproar over the idea of him being killed, with nearly 300 people showing up at a meeting in Agoura Hills to largely oppose the depredation. In response, the land owner, Victoria Vaughn-Perling has said that she's interested in saving the big cat, according to the Los Angeles Times

According to Traverso, it's up to Vaughn-Perling whether she wants to kill the mountain lion that killed her alpacas. But that if she wants to trap and save it, she won't be so lucky.

"The permit doesn't allow for capture and relocation. It doesn't allow for putting the animal in captivity. That permit is specifically for land owners suffering property damage to kill the offending animal," Traverso said. "Nobody can go out and capture that animal. That actually is against the law right now."