AGOURA HILLS – A radio-collared mountain lion was fatally struck by a vehicle today in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The National Park Service was notified by Agoura Animal Sanctuary around 9.30am that the adult lioness – identified as P-54 – was struck on Las Virgenes Road near Piuma Road and Mulholland Highway.
“P-54 will be taken to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab in San Bernardino for a full autopsy,” the NPS said in a statement. “The female adult cougar is the 29th cougar (and the 10th with a radio collar) to be killed by a vehicle in our study area since 2002.”
The area where the lion was struck was near where its mother was struck and killed in 2018, according to the NPS. The lion’s offspring, P-97, was also struck and killed about two months ago on San Diego’s southbound freeway (405) near the Getty Center as it searched for “territory to call its own.” “.
P-97’s death came a day before a groundbreaking ceremony for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, which will span the Ventura Highway (101) in Liberty Canyon near Agoura Hills. The $85 million project will be the largest crossing of its kind in the world – a fully landscaped wildlife crossing that will span 210 feet across 10 freeway and sidewalk lanes.
The Wildlife Crossing is being developed after 20 years of National Park Service studies that found roads and urban development are deadly to animals trying to navigate the Los Angeles area. Urban development has also created islands of habitat that can genetically isolate animals in the region.
Researchers have estimated that the Santa Monica mountain lion population could disappear within 50 years without an influx of genetic diversity. The lions are largely isolated due to highways which act as barriers to movement in the area. The interbreeding aims to provide a connection between the small population of cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains and the larger, genetically diverse populations to the north.