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P-104 Killed On PCH, Becoming 25th Mountain Lion To Die After Being Hit By A Vehicle

A blondish brown mountain lion is caught in a picture just as it's about to walk out of the frame, its face close, one brown eye wide with its pupil enlarged to adjust for the dark of night.
Mountain lion P-32, a male, was part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation study area before dying in an attempt to cross Interstate 5 back in August 2015. Another lion, P-104, has now become the 25th to die in a vehicular strike.
(Courtesy of National Park Service)
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A mountain lion struck and killed by a driver on Pacific Coast Highway has become the 25th to meet such a fate since the National Park Service launched its study of cougar populations in the Santa Monica Mountains and the surrounding region two decades ago.

The collared mountain lion, known as P-104, was the first to die on PCH.

Wildlife-vehicle collisions are a big problem in California, said Beth Pratt of the National Wildlife Federation. More than 44,000 were reported on state roads from 2016 to 2020.

"It's one thing to sort of put stats up on a board," Pratt said. "It's another one to see a mangled, dead, magnificent creature laid low by a vehicle. This is suffering on a grand scale, and when a mountain lion and a car meet, the car is gonna win."

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In a statement, J.P. Rose of the Center for Biological Diversity said that P-104's death is yet another reason to make wildlife crossings a top priority "before we lose the Santa Monica Mountains Puma population forever."

Pratt told LAist in February that regional mountain lions are breeding themselves out of existence. Birth defects began showing up, and sperm counts and viability went down.

The Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing, which would provide safe passage for wildlife over the 101 freeway in Agoura Hills, could help facilitate new genetic blood. It's set to break ground later this spring.

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