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Mountain lions (Felis concolor) symbolize wilderness. The "wild west," a supreme predator, supreme quarry, destroyer of wildlife (game and nongame), livestock, and "trophy" hunting. They are the epitomy of controversy in California. In this paper we will review the history of management and present legal status of mountain lions in California, the political situation leading to the present status, and some of the biological factors that have been controversial, particularly relating to population status and trends.