Mountain lion P-81 was killed on PCH, probably by a vehicle, officials say
Mountain lion P-81 was killed Sunday on Pacific Coast Highway, probably struck by a car, the National Park Service announced.
The 4-year-old male cougar’s remains were collected on PCH near Las Posas Road in Ventura County. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will perform a necropsy to confirm the cause of death.
The cat was first captured in the western Santa Monica Mountains in March 2020 and provided researchers with evidence that the mountain lion population in the region was experiencing problems.
P-81 was “significant in our mountain lion study due to his physical abnormalities — a kinked tail where the end is shaped like the letter ‘L’ and only one descended testicle,” the park service said.
The mountain lion known as P-22 has become something of a celebrity in Los Angeles. After killing a chihuahua and acting erratically, he was found in a Los Feliz backyard and taken for evaluation.
The abnormalities were the first pieces of physical evidence of possible inbreeding and a lack of genetic diversity in the mountain lion population.
The findings increased the “urgency of understanding, maintaining, and increasing connectivity for wildlife in the region,” the park service said.
The currently under-construction Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills is aimed at allowing the cats freer rein to move about the region and connect with lion populations to the north.
P-81’s death comes a little over a month after the iconic P-22 was euthanized after he suffered severe injuries, including a skull fracture, most likely from a car.
With P-81’s probable death by vehicle strike, the total number of cougars hit and killed by cars since March 2022 rises to nine, the park service said.
P-22, who has been euthanized due to severe injuries, was thought to be about 12 years old.
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