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Body of 2-year-old mountain lion found on shoulder of 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (July 20 AM Edition)
CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (July 20 AM Edition) 02:35

P-89, a male adult mountain lion that was being tracked by National Park Service biologists, was found dead on the 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills this week.

(credit: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area)

The mountain lion's body was found along the shoulder of the 101 Freeway between the DeSoto and Winnetka exits Monday morning. Authorities believe he had been struck by a car at about 2 a.m.

P-89 was 2 years old and had just dispersed from his mother, P-65, according to officials with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. He was captured late last year to be treated for mange.

He is the fourth mountain lion in the ongoing study of mountain lions in the area to die this year from being struck by a car. In March, a young mountain lion dubbed P-104 was struck and killed by a car on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, after successfully crossing the coastal road several times in the days prior. About a month later, an 18-month-old male known as P-97 was struck and killed on the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass.

In June, P-54 was fatally struck by a car on Las Virgenes Road, not far from where her mother, P-23, was killed in 2018.

Increasing road mortality of mountain lions native to the Santa Monica Mountains is why an $87 million wildlife bridge is being built across the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills. The crossing, slated for completion in 2025, will be the largest of its kind in the world at 210 feet over 10 lanes of busy highway.

"Unless we address this serious problem of habitat fragmentation by building more wildlife crossings, we will continue to read heartbreaking headlines of mountain lion fatalities," Tiffany Yap, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. "The death of a young puma who just dispersed from his mother should encourage California leaders to act."

The Center for Biological Diversity is sponsoring a state bill, the Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act, which is intended to help improve wildlife connectivity on California's roads and stave off the extinction of local species that are hemmed in by freeways and other human development.

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