GRIFFITH PARK–On Thursday, August 13, National Park Services reported the death of a mountain lion, who was hit by a car while attempting to cross Interstate 5.
Puma-32 or P-32, was a 21-month old mountain lion who has been under surveillance by the National Park Services since he was a month old. By using the GPS collar that the National Park Services put on P-32, they were able to determine that he was struck by a vehicle on the morning of August 10, between the hours of 4 and 6 a.m.
Since 2002, 12 mountain lions have been killed trying to cross freeways, including P-32. Dr. Seth Riley, wildlife ecologists with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area stated that the reason for P-32’s fatal crossing was probably due to “another dominant male that made him leave the area.” Male mountain lions need a lot of room to traverse, it was calculated that they need a range of 75 to 200 square miles. The only other male mountain lion to migrate out of the Santa Monica Mountains is P-22, who lives in Griffith Park and was found lurking under a Los Feliz home in April.
Mountain lions are killed die by oncoming vehicles or by altercations with fellow male mountain lions who are trying to protect their own area. Due to the additions of freeways and roads, mountain lions are having problems with maintaining their habitat. When they have to move into another area they have to brave the freeways and try to successfully dodge cars.
P-32, in the past, had successfully crossed State Route 23, Highway 118, and Highway 126. He was famously known as the only male mountain lion to leave the Santa Monica Mountains by way of using Highway 101.
A solution that has been proposed by conservationists is building an animal-friendly crossing area that will be located above Highway 101. This crossing will give animals safe passage from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Northern Wilderness. This plan is expensive and has yet to be approved, but it is being persistently pushed forward by conservationists.