Mountain Lion Watch
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, an agency that oversees the protection of mountain lions and their habitats, estimates that there are between 4,000 and 6,000 of the large cats statewide.
Learn how Pepperdine is addressing recent mountain lion activity around the Malibu campus.
The National Park Service believes that at any given time, there are approximately 10 to 15 lions in the Malibu-adjacent Santa Monica Mountains south of the 101 Freeway. Although mountain lions have long inhabited the foothills of Pepperdine’s neighboring Santa Monica Mountains, more frequent sightings at the Malibu campus are a recent occurrence.
“The noticeable increase in mountain lion visibility in the area is related to several factors. It is likely that a mature female lion and two young lions began using the Malibu campus more regularly than lions had in the past. The drought has likely further increased the presence of deer, the main prey of mountain lions.” – Lee Kats, Vice Provost for Research and Strategic Initiatives
In an effort to avert the mule deer population at Pepperdine, thereby reducing the presence of mountain lions on campus, the University’s Department of Facilities Services is working with the Seaver College Natural Science Division to test and implement a variety of deer deterrents.
While Pepperdine has requested relocation of the mountain lions, experts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will not relocate the animals, stating that, due to their territorial nature, doing so would destabilize the territory and could actually invite additional cats to the area.
Safety is the University’s paramount concern. Pepperdine routinely provides information and safety guidelines through community-wide notices and hosts on-campus educational sessions with state and federal agency experts. The University continues to work with the overseeing agencies and independent experts to address the presence of the cats.