SHERMAN OAKS—Officials with the National Park Service (NPS) announced on Twitter that a mountain lion was hit by a car and killed on the 405 Freeway near the Getty on Thursday, April 21. P-97, an 18-month-old male mountain lion, was struck by a car and killed around 1 a.m. 

According to NPS officials, P-97 was tracked around the area he was killed earlier that day.  The young male puma reportedly dispersed from his mother, P-54, only recently. He was presumably looking for a territory to call his own. 

In November 2021, NPS reported that 24 mountain lions in the urban area of Los Angeles have been killed by vehicle collisions since 2002. The major causes of death of mountain lions are vehicle collisions and rodenticide poisoning. 28 of 29 mountain lions have tested positive for exposure to one or more anticoagulant rodenticides (rat poison) and seven have died directly of poisoning.

Intraspecific strife or mountain lions killing other mountain lions, has been another major cause of death of these large animals. According to NPS officials, although this threat is common, it may be exacerbated because mountain lions are trapped in smaller “islands” of territories due to freeways, surrounding development and the Pacific Ocean.

According to a recent study done by researchers from NPS, UCLA, UC Davis, and Utah State University, mountain lions of the Santa Monica Mountains face possible extinction within the next 50 years. 

In an attempt to address this issue, Caltrans is currently drafting a wildlife crossing that would be built across the 101 Freeway – the largest barrier between the Santa Monica Mountains and other large natural areas. A private fundraising initiative, Save LA Cougars, is raising money for the effort.

If a wildlife crossing was built across the freeway, it would allow for mountain lions living north of the Santa Monica Mountains to travel into the range and for animals living south of the freeway to disperse out of the area.