The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said the cubs were in a back yard in the 800 block of Correas Avenue Friday, the Bay Area News Group reported. Officers tried to get the cubs to move east toward Burleigh Murray Ranch State Park, but they returned Saturday and seemed to be accustomed to people -- unusual behavior for the elusive cats.
The cubs appeared to be 9 months old and 25-30 pounds, thin for their age, Fish and Game spokeswoman Janice Mackey said.
Tranquilizing the cubs would have required wardens to use a needle on a "poke stick," an option Mackey said was risky, so they shot and killed the cubs instead.
"This was absolutely the last resort for us," Mackey said. "Our wardens spent a good amount of time to give those lions an opportunity to leave and they wouldn't."
Tim Dunbar, executive director of the non-profit Mountain Lion Foundation, called Fish and Game "a little too trigger-happy" in killing the siblings, who likely were orphaned, as cubs usually stay with their mother for 12 to 18 months.