AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Construction is going well on the world's largest wildlife crossing. The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will give animals a safe way to get over the 101 Freeway near Agoura Hills, where the animals can look for food and explore new areas.
"This wildlife crossing is a game changer for the ecological system for the Santa Monica Mountains, which was basically cut off from the rest of the world when the 101 was built, and that isolation has devastating effects to, obviously, the mountain lions. If we don't do this, they will likely vanish here from our life time," said Beth Pratt, regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation.
The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing project began on Earth Day, April 22, with a ceremonial groundbreaking setting it on a path for completion in 2025. Biologists hope the crossing will help the native animals safely cross the freeway and expand the mating pool. Mountain lions, like the famous P-22, are known for roaming around the community. Recently another mountain lion, P-90 died while walking across the 101 Freeway.
"With the crossing here that will hopefully allow animals born in the Santa Monica mountains that wish to disperse to leave and more importantly bring in animals north of the freeway down to mix up that gene pool," said Jeff Sickish, wildlife biologist with the National Park Service.
The city of Agoura Hills is proud of its efforts to help the wildlife.
"We became an incorporated city exactly 40 years ago founded upon the bases of open space preservation, wildlife preservation and connectivity. So we are really living our values," said Agoura Hills Mayor Deborah Klein Lopez.
A member of the local Chumash Indian tribe, indigenous to the Santa Monica Mountains, performed a native dance and said: "We're like most environmentalists. That's what we consider ourselves. We're the original environmentalists, so we're excited to see the largest land bridge being built right here in our tribal territory."