Someone Needs to Lock Up the Governor’s Paper and Pens

A more than two-and-one-half year ordeal for the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest has ended and it can stuff the mountain lion carcass it has wanted to put on display since 2008.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation September 30 that grants the museum – and others who wish to display dead mountain lions for “scientific or education” purposes – an exemption from 1990’s voter-approved California Wildlife Protection Act that bars both the hunting of mountain lions and possession of their carcasses.

As he has on other bills with similarly narrow interest, the Democratic governor accompanied his signature with a political message:

“This presumably important bill earned overwhelming support by both Republicans and Democrats,” Brown wrote.

“If only the same energetic bipartisan spirit could be applied to creating clean energy jobs and ending tax laws that send jobs out of state.”

The Maturango Museum focuses on the arts and natural and cultural history of the Northern Mojave Desert. Its displays include various stuffed animals indigenous to the region.

Its dead mountain lion was killed by a motor vehicle. 

Since 2008, the museum has attempted to get authorization from the state Department of Fish and Game to stuff and showcase the dead mountain lion.

It took the department that long to tell the museum “no.”

The bill – SB 769 by Sen. Jean Fuller, a Bakersfield Republican – allows the carcasses of legally-killed animals to be used in a limited way for scientific and educational purposes.

Analyses of the bill note that approximately 110 of the state’s 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions are legally killed each year.

Of the 110, 97 were killed under depredation permits, which are issued to kill mountain lions preying on livestock or pets. 



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