After a cougar kills a dog, could it destroy a proposed wildlife area in LA? – Daily news – Update Howl

A man was walking two dogs in the Hollywood Hills in early November when a mountain lion approached him from behind and grabbed one of his dogs.

The terrifying scene took place in the dark and most likely involved P-22, the famous 11-year-old male cougar known to live in the Griffith Park area and occasionally visit the Hollywood Hills. A small Chihuahua named Piper was killed at the scene.

The encounter, which was caught on camera, sparked a debate about whether it is safe to support wildlife movements in urban areas.

“The best thing for wildlife is to keep it away from people and vice versa,” said Christopher Thornberg, founder of Beacon Economics, who has lived in Bel Air for about 17 years in the area included in the proposed Los Angeles Wildlife Area.

The hilly neighborhood would be bound by Ventura Boulevard to the north, Sunset Boulevard to the south, the 101 Freeway to the east and the 405 Freeway to the west, surrounding neighborhoods in the Hollywood Hills and parts of Bel Air, Sherman Oaks and Studio. City.

Cougar sightings in the Los Angeles metropolitan area are rare, but some fear that such encounters will become more common if the city moves forward with an ordinance to protect wildlife and increase habitat connectivity in the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica Mountains, which have different names. but they are the same mountain range.

The ordinance, led by Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, who introduced the original proposal in 2014 to balance natural habitat and private property development, says the proposed wildlife area would save mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, deer and other animals threatened by freeways and other development that cuts through and destroys their habitat. For the past eight years, Koretz’s office has worked with the city planning department, scientists and biologists to refine the draft ordinance.

Under the proposal, new homes built in wildlife areas would be subject to a set of rules, including the height and size of homes, exterior lighting, landscaping and fencing.

After receiving feedback from residents, city planners recently released a revised draft ordinance that removed commercial and multifamily properties on the edges of the proposed neighborhood and community boundaries that overlapped with the Ventura Specific Plan, a 17-mile corridor that includes more than 1,200 acres and regulates over 4,300 individual lots in Woodland Hills, Encino, Tarzana and Studio City.

The bill originally proposed limiting the footprint occupied by homes on lots within the district to 50% of the lot size, but then exempted small single-family homes. The ordinance would require newly installed fencing to be environmentally friendly and prohibit spikes, sharp glass and other materials that could harm animals.

Many proponents of the ordinance have sent letters to the city’s planning commission in recent months defending the proposed district.

One of them is Arthur Alexander of Burbank, who wrote that “the passage and implementation of a wildlife conservation ordinance is a critical first step in preserving biodiversity during our unprecedented climate crisis.”

Alison Simard, co-founder of the advocacy group Citizens for LA Wildlife, or CLAW, and director of communications for Councilman Koretz, said she was saddened to learn of the incident where the cat killed the pet.

Simard said it’s a reminder that “functioning wildlife corridors have been key to protecting our open space and habitat. … The more we build and block (wild) connectivity, the more we push (wild animals) into residential areas – and the reality is that our lion population is at risk.”

But opponents say it would bring wild animals into residential neighborhoods and increase the risk of dangerous encounters.

Thornberg said he fears the restrictions will prevent him from rebuilding his home on a 17,000-square-foot lot he bought about 17 years ago with the intention of one day investing in it.

“It puts a crazy amount of restrictions on me and my old, crappy house,” he said, adding that the ordinance tells residents what “they can’t do in their homes.”

He said he is concerned that discussions about the ordinance have been “behind closed doors in different parts of City Hall and have been deliberately kept out of our view.” He argued that advocates “want to depopulate (his area) when we have a housing shortage and a homeless crisis.

In recent months, Angelenos have sent dozens of letters to city planners opposing or supporting the ordinance. Among those opposed was actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who wrote that when “the proposed conservation ordinance is applied to fully developed neighborhoods like those found in the (Wildlife District), it just doesn’t work.”

The ordinance will be considered by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission on Dec. 6. If approved, it will go to the LA City Council for a final vote.

Paul Edelman, deputy director of natural resources and planning at the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, said the attack in the Hollywood Hills occurred in the dark and involved a small dog that seemed like natural prey for the aging P-22.

Edelman said he did not believe the incident would affect the passage of the ordinance.

“The power to keep nature in our city is much stronger than people realize, and one incident like this will not derail that power,” he said.

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