Mountain Lions in California

Conservation and Management

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) strives to conserve mountain lion populations for their ecological and intrinsic values. To meet this goal, CDFW and its partners works to:

  1. Maintain genetically diverse and demographically viable populations;
  2. Minimize conflicts between mountain lions and humans (e.g. public safety events, property damage);
  3. Identify and protect important habitats; and
  4. Improve public awareness of mountain lions; and
  5. Identify and research emerging issues that threaten mountain lion populations or the habitats upon which they depend.


CDFW conducts its own research for the conservation and management of mountain lions. CDFW is also responsible for permitting and overseeing all mountain lion research occurring in California. Qualified individuals, educational institutions, governmental agencies or nongovernmental organizations may apply for a scientific collection permit to conduct scientific research involving mountain lions.


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Specimen Possession / Taxidermy

The passage of the California Wildlife Protection Act of 1990 (Proposition 117) by California voters established that mountain lions are a "specially protected mammal" in California. It is unlawful to possess, transport, import or sell any mountain lion or part or product thereof (including taxidermy mounts). An exception to this law exists for possessing or selling taxidermied mountain lions or mountain lion parts:

No person may sell or possess any mountain lion, part or product thereof, unless s/he is in possession of a valid, nontransferable permit issued by the department. A permit shall be issued by CDFW with the following stipulations:

  1. Any person who can demonstrate that the mountain lion, part or product thereof, was in his/her possession on or before June 6, 1990; or
  2. A nonprofit museum or government-owned facility generally open to the public, or an educational institution, for display, exhibition, or storage, for a bona fide scientific or educational purpose as determined by the department.

Permits shall be made available to department staff for inspection, upon request, and may be revoked by the department for failure to comply with the terms of the permit, this section, or Section 4800 of the Fish and Game Code. Any person issued a permit or a tag from the department for a mountain lion, or part or product thereof, prior to January 1, 2014, shall not be required to obtain a new permit, provided s/he maintains and makes available his existing permit or tag upon request of a department employee.