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Mountain lion found dead on 101 Freeway near construction of wildlife crossing

Mountain lion found dead on 101 Freeway near spot of wildlife crossing construction
Mountain lion found dead on 101 Freeway near spot of wildlife crossing construction 02:09

A mountain lion was found dead on the 101 Freeway near Agoura Hills early Saturday morning, close to where a wildlife crossing remains under construction. 

California Highway Patrol received a call about an animal found on one of the highway's slow lanes near Liberty Canyon Road at 4:48 a.m., CHP Officer Elizabeth Kravig said. Upon arriving, they found the mountain lion lying on the roadway, she said.

Kravig said CHP does not have any information about how the mountain lion was killed or how he or she got there.

Video shows the animal lying in the far right lane of the southbound side of the freeway. 

"It was heartbreaking," said Beth Pratt, the Regional Executive Director of the California National Wildlife Federation. "I mean, every time we lose a cat ... it's heartbreaking."

She says that repeat instances such as this are exactly why wildlife crossings are a necessity when freeways cover up so much of what used to be open land. 

"This is what happens, sadly, every day," Pratt said. "I think we have not reckoned with the moral cost of driving on both wildlife and people."

It happened near the same freeway exit where a crossing for mountain lions and other wildlife is being constructed — an effort to stop these animals from being struck and killed as they roam their natural habitat alongside LA freeways. The bridge, called the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, would link mountain ranges on both sides of the 101 and is expected to be complete next year. 

With construction launched in 2022, the crossing is being built where the freeway meets with Liberty Canyon Road and has been a joint effort between the California Department of Transportation, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, the National Wildlife Federation and the National Park Service.

"Without a safe and sustainable wildlife crossing, movement between these remaining areas of natural habitat is severely restricted and wildlife within the Santa Monica Mountains is essentially trapped," the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy states in an online description of the crossing.

The area of the freeway where the mountain lion was found sits between the cities of Agoura Hills and Calabasas. 

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