LOS ANGELES — Mountain lions have been dying on California highways at the amount of at least one particular or two just about every 7 days in modern a long time, a roadkill toll that may possibly exceed healthy reproductive concentrations for the big cats, new wildlife mortality knowledge showed on Thursday.
Maps documenting lethal highway crossings – clustered most greatly in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Region and the western Sierra Nevada foothills – were produced by the Highway Ecology Heart at the College of California (UC) at Davis.
The knowledge provides to study exhibiting mountain lions, also acknowledged as cougars or pumas, are under increasing force from targeted traffic and city sprawl that have left their territories progressively isolated from just one another, shrinking their gene pools.
“Over time, additional mortality from automobiles, particularly for tiny, isolated populations, adds considerably to the threats they currently face,” explained Fraser Shilling, the Street Ecology Centre director.
A well-known circumstance in point was the Los Angeles-space mountain lion dubbed P-22, a radio-collared puma that became a wildlife superstar after managing to cross two busy freeways to consider up residence in the Hollywood Hills close to Griffith Park.
P-22’s demise came after the cat, a male considered to be 12 a long time outdated, was struck by a auto and injured. Wildlife officers captured the lion in December and euthanized him after a health care exam identified P-22 poorly weakened from many illnesses.
“The tenacity of P-22 in lifestyle and the remaining tragedy of his death from a motor vehicle collision highlights the plight of mountain lions during California, continuously less than threat from site visitors though dwelling their organic life,” Shilling reported.
Yet another radio-tagged puma, P-81, was identified useless from a possible car strike last month in the western Santa Monica Mountains.
The research cataloged a total of 535 mountain lion fatalities on some 15,000 miles (24,140 km) of state-managed highways over eight yrs, from 2015 as a result of 2022. That tally quantities to almost 70 a calendar year, but researchers said the true toll would probable be greater if town and county roads had been counted.
The mortality fee also was discovered to have declined by about 10% above the earlier 7 decades. But the trend indicates cougar populations progressively declining as the speed of highway deaths matches reproductive rates, scientists claimed.
Publicity surrounding P-22, famously photographed prowling previous the landmark Hollywood indicator, helped increase funds for the world’s premier wildlife overpass, about U.S. Highway 101 close to Los Angeles. The job broke ground past April. A general public celebration of P-22 is planned for Saturday in Griffith Park.