By Miriam Raftery
July 9, 2019 (Lakeside) – CBS 8 reports that numerous goats have been killed in the past month in Lakeside's Morena Valley and Eucalyptus Hills communities. The CBS story quoted Billy Ortiz, a wildlife photographer, who said he identified tracks of a female mountain lion and a cub near the most recent kill.
But wildlife biologist Renee Owens says, "By the nature of the kills they were most if not all coyotes and possibly dogs. Yes, there is a mountain lion in the area, as has always been the case–as in all areas of our backcountry, but the track Billy has posted is not definitive of a lion." Her nonprofit organization, Wildlife Zone, is working on a mountain lion study. She has been featured on National Geographic, the BBC, Discovery Channel and Dateline for her wildlife expertise.
The Mountain Lion Foundation’s website has information for livestock owners on how to keep their animals safe without harming mountain lions, since the lions’ numbers are dwindling and are proposed for endangered species status in southern California counties including San Diego.Owens estimates that there could be as few as 50 lions remaining in San Diego County, though some other estimates in recent years have ranged as high as 200.
Your best option is to build an enclosed pen with a cover to keep smaller livestock, such as goats, sheep or chickens, inside at night. One relatively low-cost option for small animals is to convert a dog kennel kit by adding a cover. A fence alone is not enough, since mountain lions have been known to jump 15 feet vertically, according to the Mountain Lion Foundation. Owens says coyotes can jump a six-foot fence and mountain lions, ten.
You can find instructions for creating affordable enclosures here: https://www.mountainlion.org/portalprotectsecureenclosures.asp. Be sure to locate your enclosure away from dense vegetation where predators may hide.