Have you ever heard of P-22, the famous mountain lion who roamed the hills of Los Angeles for in excess of a decade? Unfortunately, this stunning large cat satisfied his premature demise after currently being hit by a vehicle and located wounded in a backyard. This heart-wrenching story is not an isolated incident in California, as the point out has noticed a constant toll of mountain lions currently being killed on its highways. In the previous 8 decades, there have been 535 noted conditions of mountain lions killed on California roadways – a fee of a person to two every single week. This has lifted issues that the fee of mountain lions being killed by cars and trucks may perhaps be surpassing their reproductive price, foremost to progressively isolated and inbred populations.
According to Fraser Shilling, Director of the Street Ecology Heart at UC Davis, the “undisputed cash of freeways and automobile culture” in Southern California is a lifeless end for mountain lions. The information collected from CHP, Caltrans, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and UC scientists, was merged into a geographic info procedure to develop a statewide map of deadly collisions amongst 2015 and 2022. The greater part of the strikes had been found alongside stretches of highways and freeways that achieve past significant population centers, which includes Southern California, the Bay Location, Central Coastline, and the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada array.
The superior information is that the annual number of roadkills involving mountain lions has revealed a slight downward trend, while the volume of car or truck targeted traffic continues to be unchanged. For occasion, in 2022, 77 mountain lions were killed by cars, when compared to 92 in 2017. This could advise that as the amount of mountain lions decreases in a specified space, the chance of a collision decreases. Even so, just about every time a mountain lion dies on the road, it is a tragedy.
Car strikes, urban encroachment, rat poison, inbreeding, and wildfires are contributing to what researchers contact an “extinction vortex.” There is a 1 in 4 opportunity that mountain lions could grow to be extinct in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains within just the subsequent 50 years.
To handle this concern, California is getting motion. The Office of Fish and Wildlife is doing the job to discover and prioritize wildlife movement boundaries and establish strategies for wildlife crossings. One case in point is the $87 million task currently underneath building in excess of a 10-lane stretch of the 101 Freeway near Liberty Canyon in Agoura Hills. Other unsafe stretches include I-5 above the Tehachapi Mountains, I-15 around Temecula, State Route 91 in Orange County, Point out Route 74 via Santa Rosa Mountains, and I-8 in San Diego County.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Safe and sound Roads and Wildlife Security Act into legislation, which obtained bipartisan guidance and demands Caltrans to discover obstacles to wildlife movement and prioritize crossing buildings when making or enhancing roadways. This is a move in the ideal course, but extra requires to be carried out to secure these stunning creatures from turning out to be roadkill.
It’s time for us to acquire motion and assist conserve California’s mountain lions. We can begin by slowing down and becoming much more cautious when driving, particularly in spots regarded for wildlife crossings. We can also support wildlife conservation corporations and advocate for procedures that prioritize the security of wildlife. Collectively, we can make a change and ensure that mountain lions, like P-22, can roam freely and prosper in their normal habitats.
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