Mountain lions from Santa Monica, California, live on a territory that is practically closed in from all sides, especially by freeways and the ocean. This isolation creates a serious problem for the species as forced inbreeding has led to the development of many genetic problems and illnesses. Leaving the territory in order to free themselves from the situation is very dangerous, and usually lethal. According to the Care2 petition, since 2002, 17 mountain lions have been killed during their attempts at crossing busy freeways in the area – and the animals need our help to do it successfully.
In 2016, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposed to oversee the design and construction of a special vegetated bridge across the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills. The bridge would cost $60 million, but its construction would finally give animals an easy and safe way out to travel. Thanks to the bridge, mountain lions and other animals would be free to move from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Sierra Madre Mountains north of Los Angeles – without the risk of being struck and killed by speeding vehicles.
Building the bridge would be a perfect response to the problem – however, as Caltrans stated, 80 percent of the cost has to be covered by corporate and private donations. In order to help raise those much-needed funds, the National Wildlife Federation has teamed up with other advocacy groups in what the Los Angeles Times called “one of the most ambitious fundraising campaigns ever held on behalf of local wildlife.”
If the funds are raised – and the groups involved in the initiative are optimistic about the prospect – Caltrans estimates that the bridge will be completed by 2022. Naturally, the sooner it happens, the fewer lives will be threatened by the risky quests out of the difficult territory.
Click here to voice your support for the project and sign the petition for Caltrans to build the wildlife bridge as soon as possible!
Image source: JakeWilliamHeckey/Pixabay