California wildlife wardens criticized for killing cougar cubs

Wildlife advocates are criticizing a decision by California wardens to shoot a pair of mountain lion cubs in the backyard of a home near downtown Half Moon Bay.

State Department of Fish and Game wardens killed the 9-month-old cougars Saturday night, saying they didn't attempt to tranquilize the 30-pound animals because of concerns they might escape and become a threat to public safety.

But wildlife experts tell the San Jose Mercury News that they should have been notified to assess the danger before they were shot to death.

Mark Andermahr, the homeowner who alerted authorities about the cubs, said when he was surprised when her heard the loud blasts being fired Saturday night.

"I was like, 'That sounds pretty loud for a tranquilizer gun,"' he told "I thought the cubs looked scared to me, like they were looking for their mother."

Monterey-based Wildlife Rescue founder Rebecca Dmytryk says it was a bad judgment call, adding it was a perfect situation to call in wildlife rescuers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report