Two young mountain lions were shot and killed by game wardens in Half Moon Bay on Saturday afternoon, a California Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.
The mountain lions had taken refuge under the porch of a home in the 800 block of Correas Street on Friday, department spokeswoman Janice Mackey said.
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and game wardens responded to the sighting and confirmed the presence of two "adolescent" mountain lions around 10 months old, each weighing between 25 and 30 pounds, Mackey said.
The animals had "blank stares" and did not try to hide or run away from the humans, she said.
"When these cats aren't trying to scamper away, that raises a red flag," Mackey said. "They seemed very habituated to humans, which was unusual."
The cats were in a neighborhood that is adjacent to a wildlife corridor leading to the Burleigh-Murray Ranch State Park. In an effort to allow the cats a chance to go back into the wild, game wardens left the area for about 24 hours, Mackey said.
However, when the cats were seen in the same neighborhood the next day, wardens made the decision to shoot the animals in the name of public safety.
"We care about wildlife, we want to preserve wildlife - but public safety was a priority in this case," Mackey said.
Attempting to tranquilize the cats with a poke-stick or dart gun was not an option, given the close proximity of the animals to a populated neighborhood.
"Animals don't go down right away," Mackey said. "It can take two to three minutes, or not work at all."
Having two possibly agitated young mountain lions on the loose so close to people and pets posed too great a risk, she said.
The animals were killed at about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. A necropsy will be performed on the cats to determine their age and health condition.
Last year, a mountain lion was killed in Redwood City after it wandered into a residential neighborhood and into the backyard of a home. The mountain lion was also deemed a threat to public safety.
- Bay City News