Mountain lion struck, killed by vehicle on Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu

A close-up of a mountain lion's face, tan in color, with whiskers, a pink nose, and yellow/green eyes
A mountain lion died hours after being hit by a vehicle near Malibu on Tuesday night, wildlife officials said. Above, a photo of P-81, who was hit and killed by a vehicle last month.
(National Park Service)

An adult male mountain lion was hit by a vehicle, suffering fatal injuries, just west of Malibu on Tuesday night, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Wildlife officials were notified of the injured mountain lion Tuesday about 7 p.m., soon after it had been struck on Pacific Coast Highway near Leo Carrillo State Park, department spokesperson Tim Daly said.

Wildlife conflict specialists responded to the scene and contacted a local veterinarian about possible treatment, but the lion died before the team could immobilize it for capture, Daly said. The lion, which was not wearing a tracking collar as part of the National Park Service’s study of local cougars, died just before 9:20 p.m.

Though the lion initially survived the crash, it had “very serious injuries,” Daly said. A necropsy is planned in the coming days.


Vehicle strikes, rat poison, inbreeding, urban encroachment and wildfire are contributing to an ‘extinction vortex’ for mountain lions.

Feb. 2, 2023

Further details about the collision were not available Tuesday, Daly said, though he reminded drivers to remember that wild animals often try to cross area roads.

“Half of California is considered mountain lion habitat,” Daly said. “We just ask that all drivers in California be aware of the potential for wildlife crossing and take all the safety precautions that drivers can.”

This lion’s death comes not long after thousands gathered to remember P-22, Los Angeles’ famous mountain lion who prowled Griffith Park for more than a decade. P-22 died in December, when wildlife biologists made the difficult decision to euthanize the puma after he too was struck by a car, following weeks of erratic behavior.