LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Minutes before the mountain lion known as P-61 was struck and killed on the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass, he was being chased by another lion in the area, according to surveillance video released Wednesday by the National Park Service.
P-61 died about 4 a.m. Sept. 7 while trying to cross the interstate between Bel Air Crest Road and the Sepulveda Boulevard underpass, Park Service officials said. The animal had successfully crossed the 405 in the same area in July, making him only the second lion known to have done so.
The grainy, newly released footage shows P-61 climbing into a tree after being chased about 3 a.m. by an unidentified lion, the agency said. The second lion climbs into the tree about two minutes later.
Video shows two lions descending from the tree about 30 minutes afterward and running away, one following the other. Additional footage shows P-61 crossing a road and heading south, adjacent to the 405.
Moments later, after crossing five lanes of traffic, he was hit by a vehicle on the freeway.
"This is what male mountain lions instinctively do and it did not end up in P-61's favor," said Jeff Sikich, a biologist with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. "The difference is that this is real-life mountain lion behavior playing out in an urban and fragmented landscape that is complicated by busy roads and development."