Mountain lion P-89 dies after being struck by vehicle on 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills

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Thursday, July 21, 2022
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A radio-collared mountain lion was fatally struck by a vehicle on the Ventura 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills, authorities said Wednesday.

WOODLAND HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A radio-collared mountain lion was hit and killed by a driver on the Ventura 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills, authorities said Wednesday.

The male mountain lion known as P-89 was only two years old.

He was found dead early Monday along the shoulder of the freeway between the DeSoto and Winnetka exits, according to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. He was struck around 2 a.m.

"This is a fourth mountain lion to be hit and killed by a car this year," said Ana Beatriz Cholo with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation. "Just three weeks ago or so, not too far from here, P-54 was hit and killed by car off Las Virgines in Calabasas, and before that, another mountain lion was killed off the 405 and then before that, Pacific Coast Highway, so you know, it's hard to tell exactly, but wildlife crossings do help."

To better protect wildlife, construction began in April on what's being called the world's largest wildlife crossing for mountain lions and other animals caught in Southern California's urban sprawl.

The $90 million bridge over the 101 Freeway will stretch 200 feet over the highway, giving big cats, coyotes, deer and other wildlife a safe path over the highway.

"In other states, we've seen wildlife crossings go in and there have been up to 98% reduction in wildlife vehicle collisions, while seeing wildlife, moving under or over the roads," said Tiffany Yap, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. "So, it is a proven solution that that we're trying to get implemented regularly throughout the state's road system in California."

A UC Davis study reports there were more than 44,000 traffic accidents on California roads involving large wildlife between 2009 and 2020.

Yap is hopeful a bill her organization is spearheading called The Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act will pass in the state assembly.

"The bill would help us put more wildlife crossings on our roads to make it safer for animals to move more freely and find the resources they need to keep healthy gene flow keep healthy populations," she said.