Hollywood's Cougars Set To Get Their Own Bridge

Trapped between encircling highways, L.A.'s mountain lions need a life-saving crossing to break out of a shrinking gene pool.


NSFW    LOS ANGELES — Over the last few decades, the highway traffic around Los Angeles has killed scores of endangered mountain lions. These animals were part of a group of lions that had become trapped between highways that encircle the Santa Monica Mountains.

For the past few years, environmentalists have been trying to raise the $87 million needed to build a highway wildlife crossing that could save these lions. Here are the details:

Wildlife campaigners are getting ready to build the world's largest wildlife crossing over a Los Angeles highway that has trapped a clan of mountain lions for decades, according to a report in The Los Angeles Times.

The crossing will be built in Agoura Hills, over a stretch of the 101 Freeway that roars with the traffic of 300,000 vehicles each day.

It will be shaped to blend into the surrounding mountain habitat, providing a connection between the small group of mountain lions trapped in the Santa Monica Mountains and the larger and genetically diverse populations to the north.

The lions are listed as endangered, and seventeen of them have been killed by traffic since 2002. Scientists have also found evidence of genetic abnormalities caused by the inbreeding of lions that are trapped in the small area.

When complete, the 200-foot-long, 165-foot-wide bridge will be the largest of its kind in the world.

The biggest problem is that California won't pay for it and campaigners have only raised $38 million so far. They need at least $65 million by August to avoid costly delays and to complete construction by 2025.

In the words of architect Robert Rock, who designed the crossing, 'Mountain lions are prone to wander ... and a wildlife crossing here is our best hope to keep them from wandering into extinction.'
Hollywood's Cougars Set To Get Their Own Bridge

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