A Seven Month Old Endangered Mountain Lion Became The 14TH Big Cat Killed On L.A. Freeway, Just Weeks After His Mom Died

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A male mountain lion kitten was struck and killed by a vehicle along the same stretch of Los Angeles-area freeway where his mother died, the National Park Service reported Thursday.  The 7-month-old cat known as P-52 was struck and killed by a vehicle on Dec. 20 on the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway just west of the Ventura County line near Kuehner Drive, Kate Kuykendall of the National Park Service told City News Service. 

The kitten’s mother, P-39, was struck and killed on Dec. 3 a few miles away, Kuykendall said.

 

The young male’s death was the 14th known case of a mountain lion being killed on a freeway or road in the National Park Service’s study area since 2002.

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Its mother had three kittens, according to the NPS, which has been studying and tracking mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains.

 

The cub’s remains were collected by workers for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which will perform a necropsy in the coming weeks “to determine whether the animal was otherwise healthy,” Kuykendall said.

 

Believed to be about 5 years old, P-39 had been fitted with a GPS collar in April 2015 and was known to have had at least two litters of kittens, including the three born about seven months ago and known as P-50, P-51 and P- 52, according to the NPS.

The mother lion had generally stayed in the area north of the 118 Freeway, but she crossed the freeway a few days before she was struck and killed just east of the Rocky Peak exit, which is east of where P-52 was killed. It’s unclear if the kittens were with her when she was struck.

 

The mother lion’s death was not reported to the NPS until several days after it occurred. The animal’s remains, which were apparently disposed of before NPS researchers were contacted, have not been located. But P-39’s damaged GPS collar was found near the freeway median, according to the Park Service.

 

The area’s lion population is largely penned in by freeways and urban development, leading to at least one report estimating the species could die off within 50 years.

 

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:   AP; CBS
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