Weeks after his sister crossed the 101 Freeway, P-32 – one of three mountain lions known by a series of photographs – has also taken the same path and has ventured away from his family den in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Researchers with the National Park Service believe P-32 dashed across the 101 Freeway near Thousand Oaks early on April 3, then crossed State Route 23 near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and settled into a natural area in the Simi Hills, according to Ranger Kate Kuykendall, spokeswoman of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
“This is good news for P-32,” she said. “Being a young mountain lion, especially being a mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains, is not easy.”
Nearly all young male mountain lions die prematurely because they must either fight a strong, adult male puma or are hit by a vehicle, Kuykendall said.
P-32 is the first male studied to successfully flee the mountains. But not the first puma to leave its nest.
Last month, P-32’s sibling, P-33, attempted the same journey.
Although the siblings both crossed the far west end of the mountains near the Camarillo and Thousand Oaks border, their paths were different.
Researchers believe the female puma crossed the eight-lane 101 Freeway near Camarillo sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. on March 9.
She traveled to State Route 23, but turned around and returned to the area she initially crossed the 101 Freeway.
In mid-February, the pair of siblings were shown in a series of photographs interacting with each other and feeding on a carcass. The images provided a surprising glimpse into their lives.
At the time, the siblings were 15 months old. Now the pumas are old enough to leave their mother.
Researchers say Liberty Canyon is the preferred location of a wildlife crossing for the 101 Freeway because its connection to habitats in Simi Hills, the Santa Susana Mountains and further north is strong.
Meanwhile, mountain lions will continue their attempts to cross freeways.
P-12 is believed to be the first animal tracked crossing the 101 Freeway and entering the mountains in 2009. Researchers believe the puma is still alive.
Early paternity tests show P-12 is the father of the siblings as well as a female puma, known as P-34.
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