Malibu Adds $5000 to Reward for Capture and Conviction of SMM Mountain Lion Poacher
• DFG Award Total Now Up to $16,700
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Malibu City Council this week unanimously agreed to add $5000 to the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of a mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains.
On Sept. 11, a seven-year-old cougar, known to the National Park Service researchers as P-15, was found dead in a canyon near Newbury Park in Ventura County, according to federal officials.
The puma was one of several mountain lions in the region equipped with a GPS device that allowed NPS biologists to track their moves.
While the specific cause of death is still under investigation, Park Service officials state that the injuries to the lion were human-caused, leading them to believe that poachers killed the animal.
Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich had introduced the measure for council consideration.
"Thanks for putting this on the agenda. The killing was terrible. There are so few mountain lions left. The gesture is great for Malibu," said activist Alessandra DeClario.
The council was also urged on by animal activist Sherman Baylin, who said it was "very, very important" for the council to act.
"This is not just a death, but a poaching, and I hope someone squeals on this guy. It is a good precedent for us," she said.
Councilmember John Sibert agreed. "It is a good idea and it sends the right message. It is a heinous crime," he said.
However, Councilmember Jefferson Wagner said he views the matter as outside city jurisdiction. Conley Ulich countered, "The wildlife don't look at county lines. We offered a reward for Mitrice Richardson and had no problem. It sends a clear message whether human or animals."
Malibu joins the City of Calabasas, which recently approved a $5000 reward to match earlier rewards offered by the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust. Other organizations are also offering rewards bringing the total reward amount to $16,700.
According to the staff report, Malibu established a special reward fund and authorized the city council to offer rewards for information, which leads to the arrest and conviction of a criminal. The matter can be viewed as a public safety issue because armed persons are illegally hunting in the Santa Monica Mountains and could endanger people.
"The code section states the city council may, by resolution, offer a reward for specific crimes committed in the city from the established fund. Although it does not appear this potential crime was committed in the city, Councilmember Conley Ulich is requesting the reward be established as it affects the entire Santa Monica Mountains area," states the staff report.