Los Angeles Times

Male mountain lion struck, killed on 101

- By Melissa Hernandez

A mountain lion was struck and killed on the 101 Freeway in the Santa Monica Mountains early Monday, a month after another was killed in the same area.

P-89, a 2-year-old male, was found dead on the shoulder of the 101, between the DeSoto and Winnetka exits.

He’s the fourth mountain lion to die after being struck by a vehicle this year, according to a social media post from the National Park Service.

The young lion is the second killed in a month in the Santa Monica Mountains. P-54 — a 5-year-old female mountain lion — was struck and killed by a car on Las Virgenes Road between Piuma Road and Mulholland Highway on June 17. The site is not far from where her mother and brother, P-23 and P-97, were killed.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service, said P-89 had been struck by a vehicle around 2 a.m.

Jeff Sikich, mountain lion field biologist for the National Park Service, said the young cat had been collared as part of the park service’s cougar study area — which includes the Santa Monica Mountains, Simi Hills, Griffith Park and the Santa Susana and Verdugo mountains — in 2020.

The cub was eventually recaptured by Sikich in November, he said, to be fitted with a GPS radio collar when he was still traveling with his mother, and wildlife officials had been following him closely ever since.

Sikich said P-89 is the 30th mountain lion to be struck and killed by a car in the 20 years that the park service has been studying the mortality of the big cats.

“What we’ve learned is that these freeways are major barriers to movement,” Sikich said. “The 101 [Freeway] and the 405 [Freeway] are so massive, right? They’re 10 lanes in many spots, and most animals don’t even attempt to cross, but we have documented mortalitie­s on these freeways when they do attempt [to cross].”

Wildlife officials say a full necropsy will be performed on P-89 in the coming days.

Tiffany Yap, a senior scientist for the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement that she hopes the death of P-89 will encourage California lawmakers to enact more protection­s for mountain lions.

“When state senators consider the Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act next month, I hope they see the gravity of the situation and pass the bill,” Yap said.

The Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act, AB 2344, would require Caltrans to identify potential wildlife barriers on all future transporta­tion projects and implement at least 10 projects that improve wildlife crossings.

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