Beating the Odds, Mountain Lion Successfully Crosses 101 Freeway

09 Août, 2017, 12:14 | Author: Cyril Hebras
  • The mountain lion P-55 made it across the 101 Freeway—something few mountains lions have done.  
     Courtesy of National Parks Service

"The overwhelming pattern we've observed through Global Positioning System tracking is lions coming up to the edge of a freeway and turning around", said Seth Riley, a wildlife ecologist at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, in the release.

P-55's move deeper into the Valley is only the fourth successful crossing of the 101 freeway since 2002, when the parks service began keeping track.

Thousand Oaks - The National Park Service says researchers have documented a rare case of a cougar from the Santa Monica Mountains successfully crossing U.S. Highway 101 to live in a range less hemmed in by Southern California sprawl.

The puma also made it across Highway 23 and the 118 Freeway and is now roaming the Santa Susana Mountains, according to the NPS. When mountain lions stumble across a highway, they usually turn around.

P-55 had recently been fitted with a tracking collar and was seen on video in the backyard of Newbury Park home the same weekend he crossed the 101.

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A fragmented landscape is unsafe for the big cats: the animals need large swaths of land for hunting and mingling with each other. Also, young males who can't roam freely sometimes get stuck in another male's territory, leading to conflict and possibly death.

With his crossing, however, P-55 could mate with other lions in the Santa Susana Mountains and help to diversify the gene pool, Behrens said.

The freeway and other roads are life-threatening to the region's lions-17 documented road kills since 2002.

To solve the problem, local organizations have talked about building a wildlife bridge across the 101, just west of Liberty Canyon Road in the City of Agoura Hills. With fewer options in the mating pool, the mountain lions in the area could eventually be at risk of endangerment or extinction due to a lack of genetic diversity.

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