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Sonoma County Ranchers Track, Kill Mountain Lions Killing Livestock

SONOMA COUNTY (KPIX) - A surveillance camera captured video of a mountain lion ranchers trapped and killed after it attacked their livestock in Sonoma County.

This is the second time in recent months, property owners killed one of the animals linked to livestock deaths.

However there are some ranchers who are taking a very different approach to the problem.

There are less than 10 adult mountain lions known to be in the area, but they have a large roaming range.

Jamie Burkart moved to Sonoma County from San Francisco two-and-a-half years ago. He knows all about the mountain lion that ate his goat.

"So I have two pigs and two goats for fun, and I woke up one morning and my goat was gone," said Burkart, who lives between Glen Ellen and Santa Rosa.

"I think at the time it was 6 1/2 feet head to tail, at 110 pounds, and I know he's gotten to about 150. [He} is a very big kitty," said Burkart. "I was amazed! I couldn't believe something that big would be lurking around."

Burkart worked with the Audubon Canyon Ranch to tag, track and save the mountain lion.

Other livestock owners in the area are instead choosing to kill mountain lions who kill their animals.

Just last week, a mountain lion was put down after killing a goat in Kenwood. It's the second state-sanctioned mountain lion killing in the last eight months in Sonoma valley.

"If they're protecting their livestock they could take other measures," said Mysti Green, who was visiting Glen Ellen. "They could lock their livestock up or get dogs that would keep the mountain lions on the outskirts. There are things they could do besides resort to killing."

Wildlife Ecologist Quinton Martins is the lead researcher on Audubon Canyon Ranch's Living with Lions, a community conservation project.

He says it's important to educate livestock owners, telling them how to protect their livestock so they can coexist with mountain lions.

"We can see that it makes no sense to kill a mountain lion in these circumstances. The removal will just result in another one coming in and because they're prone to killing unprotected livestock, it's just going to keep on happening," said Martins.

Still, there are some Sonoma County residents who think livestock owners have to do what it takes to protect their animals.

"I believe that they do you have the right to protect their livestock I would use a tranquilizer rather an ultimatum bullet myself," said Michael Everidge of Glenn Ellen.

Animal and wildlife experts say there are some things owners can do to protect animals and livestock in the area. The best thing is to lock them up in predator-proof enclosures. A mountain lion can jump a 12-foot fence. Also, be sure to keep the enclosures away from vegetation and water, like creeks and drainage systems.

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