first_imgA male mountain lion who had successfully crossed a 10-lane freeway in Los Angeles earlier this summer was struck and killed on Saturday, on that same section of the road.National Park Service Ranger Ana Beatriz says the four-year-old big cat, known as P-61, was hit at around 4 a.m. in the Sepulveda Pass section of Interstate 405.Last July, P-61 became the first big cat on record to cross that freeway during the NPS’ 17-year study of mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains.In the same area where P-61 crossed, another mountain lion called P-18 was hit and killed by a vehicle eight years ago. In addition, a lion who was not being tracked by scientists was killed along that stretch in 2009.Researchers believe that a negative encounter with a non-collared male mountain lion may have caused P-61 to attempt to cross the freeway in order to move back west, Beatriz says.Transportation officials and conservationists are planning to build a mostly privately funded wildlife crossing over U.S. 101 in Agoura Hills, a strategy that would provide mountain lions and other wild animals with a safe route to open space, in addition to better access to food and potential mates.Officials say the $87 million span along U.S. 101 will be the first of its kind near a major city, and the largest such crossing in the world, stretching 200 feet above 10 lanes of highway and a feeder road 35 miles northwest of downtown Los AngelesAccording to California transportation officials, it is on track for groundbreaking by 2021, with projected completion by 2023.last_img

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