A juvenile male mountain lion, P-104, was hit and killed by a vehicle going northbound on the 33100 block of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) around 7 a.m. on March 23. He had been the latest addition to a 20-year study tracking mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains to determine how they survive in a fragmented and urbanized environment.
National Park Service (NPS) biologists said the mountain lion had been captured and fitted with a GPS radio collar just two weeks before his death, in the western Santa Monica Mountains. The young 103-pound cat had crossed PCH several times since then, with scientists noting that it’s very rare for a collared mountain lion to cross PCH.
Puma P-104 is the 25th mountain lion and eighth collared study cat to be killed by a vehicle since the mountain lion study began in 2002. But this is the first documented mountain lion to be hit and killed by a car on PCH. According to a report on other media, the driver did not stop or report the hit.
Currently, the NPS is tracking 13 mountain lions in the region.
Wildlife-vehicle collisions are a big problem in California, Beth Pratt of the National Wildlife Federation told LAist after the kill. “More than 44,000 were reported on state roads from 2016 to 2020.”
“It’s one thing to put stats up on a board,” she continued. “It’s another 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 wins.”
Nearly 500 people wrote comments on the NPS Facebook page decrying this incident.
J.P. Rose of the Center for Biological Diversity told LAist 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.”
The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing Groundbreaking Ceremony is now set to take place on Earth Day, Friday, April 22. The National Wildlife Federation and its partners — fundraisers for the wildlife crossing — invite the public to show up from 10 to 11 a.m. at crossing site in Agoura Hills for the ceremony.
However, they caution that space is limited due to safety and security, and anyone interested in attending needs to fill out this form to request a spot. Anyone wanting to do so can go to https://form.jotform.com/220787435750158
The ceremony will also be live-streamed on www.savelacougars.org and shown on a big outdoor screen at King Gillette Ranch (26800 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas, CA 91302) — where a public celebration after the ceremony will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“We’ll have food and fun for everyone with a carnival theme, and the chance to win some cool cougar prizes,” the Save LA Cougars website announced. “Artist Obi Kaufmann, who created the special artwork for the groundbreaking, will be there to sign his prints and books. The event is open to the public with no registration required.”