For everybody who lives in L.A., dealing with traffic is among the top worries of the day. But for L.A.-area mountain lions, whose hunting and breeding habitat is fragmented by freeways, it's truly a life-or-death proposition. A proposed wildlife corridor—a landscaped bridge spanning eight-lane Highway 101 in L.A. County's Agoura Hills—aims to solve that problem by providing safe passage for the big cats (and other wildlife). The proposed project is a big endeavor, with a big price tag of more than $30 million. But for fans of mountain lions, it would be money well spent.
The location for the proposed span will connect public lands in the Santa Monica Mountains and the inland Simi Hills. Historically, mountain lions have traversed both ranges, claiming the terrain for their home territory—large terrain being requisite for a healthy breeding pool and genetic diversity. (The currently hemmed-in mountain lions of the Santa Monica Mountains are dangerously inbred.) But more viscerally, the big cats are killing themselves trying to break out and expand their territory—since 2002, at least 12 mountain lions have been killed crossing roads in the area (no picnic for car drivers either). The most recent collision was in 2013, on Highway 101 exactly at site of the proposed wildlife bridge.
Construction of this lifesaving corridor is far from a done deal. Next step: more study by Caltrans (funded by a grant from the State Coastal Conservancy), with public comments through 2017. My comment? Let's go for it!