Los Angeles Times

California's mighty predator — the mountain lion — faces 'extinction vortex'

LOS ANGELES - As the mountain lions of Southern California approach what some experts call an "extinction vortex," environmentalists are demanding that state officials grant the big cats protective status - a move that could potentially ban development on thousands of acres of prime real estate.

Mountain lions as a species are not threatened in California, but a petition submitted Tuesday to the state Fish and Game Commission argues that six isolated and genetically distinct cougar clans from Santa Cruz to the U.S.-Mexico border comprise a subpopulation that is threatened by extinction.

The petition, which is co-sponsored by the Center for Biological Diversity and the nonprofit Mountain Lion Foundation, argues that Central and Southern California mountain lions

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