Mountain lion P-89 killed on 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills
A mountain lion was struck and killed on the 101 Freeway in the Santa Monica Mountains early Monday, a month after another was killed on a Southern California road.
P-89, a 2-year-old male, was found dead on the shoulder of the 101, between the DeSoto and Winnetka exits.
For the record:6:31 p.m. July 20, 2022
An earlier version of this article said P-89 was the second mountain lion killed in the Santa Monica Mountains in the last week. He was the second lion killed in a month.
The article also said mountain lion P-97 was the brother of P-54 and was killed near the Santa Monica Mountains. P-97 is the son of P-54 and was killed on the 405 Freeway near the Getty Center.
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.
P-54 was struck around 9:30 a.m. in the Santa Monica Mountains. Her mother was killed in 2018, and one of her sons was killed just two months ago.
The young lion was 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, P-23, was killed. P-97, one of of P-54’s offspring born in 2020, was struck and killed on the 405 Freeway near the Getty Center in April.
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 became 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 after he was born during the “summer of kittens.”
The cub eventually was 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 since.
Sikich said P-89 is the 30th mountain lion to be struck and killed by a car in the 20 years 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.
When complete, the 200-foot-long, 165-foot-wide bridge over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills will be the largest of its kind in the world.
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.
The bill is expected to be heard by the California Senate Appropriations Committee in August.
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