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Mountain Lion Makes its Way to the 405 Freeway

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Photo by sigsegv via Flickr

Photo by sigsegv via Flickr
When National Park Service employees in Thousand Oaks yesterday morning checked on the mountain lions they monitor via GPS in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, they discovered that one of them visited an unusual location. On Wednesday night, one was in the vicinity of the 405 Freeway and the Skirball Museum.

Wildlife Ecologist Seth Riley is paying close attention to this mountain lion in particular. P10, as the male lion is pedantically named, is wearing a GPS collar with a battery running on low. If it runs dry, it could be years, if ever, before the National Park Service finds him again.

Male mountain lions tend to keep a very large range, or territory, spanning miles among miles. In the case of P10 and two other males, their ranges overlap throughout most of the National Recreation Area, which basically goes from Point Mugu in Ventura County to the Cahuenga Pass between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood.

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"It's interesting they're using the entire mountain," explained Riley of the lions' range. "It's interesting, too, that they've yet to cross the freeway, but it is a significant barrier." And that may not be a bad thing, he continued, considering there's not as much livable habitat between the 405 and Griffith Park. "It would be hard to set up a long term residence East of the 405, but you never know."


Seth Riley explains mountain lion tracking in Liberty Canyon
But Riley did note that numerous bobcats and coyotes do live East of the 405.P10, then estimated to be aged one or two, was first discovered last year February. He was caught some 28 miles away from the 405 freeway in Rancho Sierra Vista, which is essentially the spacious Hidden Valley area of Newbury Park.

That 28-mile range makes for a large territory, which is also shared with two other males named P1 and P10. With so many in the same area, there's potential for fights since males tend to claim territories as their own, even separate from their offspring. However, females--and there are a few within the same range--are very welcome to stay put.