Cougar Dreams Come True Thanks to You!
Thanks to your generous donations, In Defense of Animals was able to give the National Wildlife Federation’s #SaveLACougars Campaign Leader Beth Pratt a check for $6,400 on the homestretch of a marathon fundraiser to build the largest wildlife crossing of its kind in the world. The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon will reconnect a long-fragmented ecosystem and help protect locally endangered mountain lions and other wild animals in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles, California.
On October 23, our Campaigns Director Lisa Levinson hand-delivered the check to Beth Pratt on P-22 Day, during an annual festival celebrating Griffith Park’s resident cougar and fostering coexistence with our wild animal neighbors. We expressed our gratitude for being able to join this historical landmark effort to save local mountain lions from extinction.
Each person who made a donation literally helped to build and install the crossing, which will break ground this January. The 200-foot-long, 165-foot-wide overpass will blend into the surrounding mountain habitat with vegetated barriers to reduce the noise and light impacts from vehicle traffic. Mountain lions, bobcats, gray foxes, coyotes, mule deer, and other wild animals who travel between the Santa Monica Mountains, the Simi Hills, and the Santa Susana Mountains will now find safe passage.
Experts say local cougars and bobcats currently suffer from a lack of genetic diversity because they lack access to suitable mates on both sides of the highway. Thanks to your generous donations, and a unique public-private partnership between the California Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, Living Habitats, and the National Wildlife Federation, resident cougars will finally have a chance to cross the busy 101 Freeway — where 300,000 cars drive daily — to find mates and survive in this urban landscape.
Wildlife crossings reduce the number of wild animal-vehicle collisions, which prevents animals from being directly killed, maimed, or injured. Sadly, an estimated 1-2 million large animals are killed in automobile collisions in the U.S. every day, which are the leading cause of death for many animal species.
Thanks in part to In Defense of Animals supporters, the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will now serve as a model for habitat connectivity worldwide!