LOS ANGELES (KABC) --The Los Angeles City Council took an important step forward this week to protect wildlife. The ultimate goal is to create wildlife corridors in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains and a key part is keeping developers in check.
At just 12 years old, River Simard spoke before the L.A. City Council to support legislation that would preserve wildlife corridors in the area.
"It's hard knowing we were there after them. They were first and that we're just going in there and kicking them out," Simard said.
The council voted to draft a new law requiring developers to ensure they will permanently accommodate wildlife habitat connectivity before receiving a building or grading permit.
"People say, 'Why do we need corridors?' Well, you need to go from the - you know, in your own home, right? - from the bathroom to the kitchen to the living room to the dining room - that's what nature needs to do. That's what the cougar needs to do," said Joe Edmiston, executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
"It's somewhat amazing that L.A. still has the wealth of wildlife that we do, considering all the building," said Councilman Paul Koretz. "But this, I think, will prevent us from losing it."
Supporters said it will also protect residents from uninvited visitors as it will create space for wild animals to roam free.
Koretz said the legislation could potentially prevent hundreds of blocked areas and allow wildlife to get from one part of their habitat to another.
Officials said the city council could vote on the ordinance in late 2016.