Lion Struck, Killed by Vehicle in Santa Monica Mountains

AGOURA HILLS (CNS) – A radio-collared mountain lion was fatally struck by a vehicle Friday in the Santa Monica Mountains.

The National Park Service was notified by the Agoura Animal Shelter about 9:30 a.m. that the adult female lion — 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 necropsy,” the NPS said in a statement. “The female adult mountain lion is the 29th mountain lion (and 10th radio collared one) to be killed by a vehicle in our study area since 2002.”

The area where the lion was struck was near the location 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 the southbound San Diego (405) Freeway near the Getty Center while looking “for a territory to call his own.”

P-97’s death came one day before a groundbreaking ceremony for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, which will span the Ventura (101) Freeway in Liberty Canyon near Agoura Hills. The $85 million project will be the largest crossing of its kind in the world — a fully landscaped passage for wildlife that will stretch 210 feet over 10 lanes of highway and pavement.

The Wildlife Crossing is being developed following 20 years of studies from the National Park Service that found roads and urban development are deadly for animals trying to navigate the Los Angeles area. Urban development has also created islands of habitats that can genetically isolate the region’s animals.

Researchers have estimated that the mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains could become extinct within 50 years without an influx of genetic diversity. The lions are largely isolated due to freeways that act as barriers to movement across the region. The crossing aims to provide a connection between the small population of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains and the larger and genetically diverse populations to the north.

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