A wildlife crossing is planned for Los Angeles to help endangered mountain lions and other animals pass throughout the chain of the Santa Monica mountains. The project, once completed, will be the largest wildlife corridor in the world stretching over 10 lanes of traffic on highway 101 with a price tag of $87 million. 300,000 cars per day drive through this stretch of road each day, making it nearly impossible for a mountain lion and other wildlife to successfully cross this road.

Currently the mountain range is fragmented by major freeways, making it extremely difficult for mountain lions to thrive in the area. The population of mountain lions inhabiting this area are inbreeding, causing an unhealthy population that is unsustainable. The crossing will allow mountain lions to inhabit a much larger area in the mountain range.

Photo: Steve Winter. Cover of the December 2013 National Geographic issue.

The most famous mountain lion living in the area is p-22, living in Griffith Park in urban Los Angeles since 2012. P-22 crossed multiple major freeways to end up in Griffith Park, but many others do not survive freeway crossings. This wildlife crossing will set a model for urban wildlife conservation. The project is the culmination of work and advocacy from The National Wildlife Federation, Save LA Cougars, Caltrans, The National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains.

 

Written by Justin Stanphill