After a cougar kills a dog, could this be a proposed wildlife district?

After a cougar kills a dog, could this be a proposed wildlife district?

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

The gruesome 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 make occasional visits to the Hollywood Hills. A small Chihuahua dog named Piper was killed instantly.

The encounter, which was filmed, sparked a debate over whether it is safe to encourage a movement of wild animals into urban neighborhoods.

“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 an area included in a district. proposed wildlife in Los Angeles.

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

Spotting a cougar in an urban Los Angeles neighborhood is rare, but some fear such encounters could become more frequent if the city moves forward with an ordinance to protect wildlife and increase habitat connectivity in the Hollywood Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains, which have different names. but are the same mountain range.

An order led by Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, who introduced the original motion in 2014 to balance wildlife habitat and private property development, argues that the proposed wildlife district would save mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, deer and other animals threatened by highways and other developments that carve up and destroy their habitats. Over 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 the wildlife district would follow a set of rules, including home height and size, exterior lighting, landscaping and fencing.

After receiving feedback from residents, planners recently released a revised draft ordinance, removing commercial and multi-family properties near the proposed district boundaries, and communities that overlapped the specific plan for Ventura, a 17-mile corridor long which comprises over 1,200 acres and regulates over 4,300 individual parcels in Woodland Hills, Encino, Tarzana and Studio City.

The project originally proposed to limit the footprint occupied by homes on neighborhood lots to 50% of the lot size, but later exempted small single-family homes. The ordinance would require newly installed fencing to be wildlife-friendly, prohibiting spikes, sharp glass and other materials that could harm animals.

Many supporters of the ordinance have sent letters to the city’s planning commission in recent months, defending the proposed neighborhood.

One of them is Arthur Alexander of Burbank who wrote that “the passage and implementation of the Wildlife Protection Ordinance is an essential first step towards maintaining biodiversity during our climate crisis without previous”.

Alison Simard, co-founder of advocacy group Citizens for LA Wildlife, or CLAW, and director of communications for council member Koretz, said she was saddened when she heard about the incident in which an animal pet was killed by a big cat.

Simard said it was a reminder that having “functioning wildlife corridors is key to protecting our open spaces and habitats. … The more we build and block (wildlife) connectivity, the more we push (wildlife) into residential areas – and the reality is that our cougar population is under threat.

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 investing there one day.

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

He said he was concerned that discussions of the ordinance had taken place “behind closed doors in different parts of City Hall and deliberately kept it out of our view.” He claimed supporters “want to depopulate (his area) when we have a housing shortage and a homelessness crisis”.

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