Celebrate National Wildlife Week with Wildlife Corridors
We’re honoring National Wildlife Week with bittersweet news for wild animals who live in California’s Santa Monica Mountains. Plans are underway to build the world’s largest highway overpass wildlife crossing so resident animals, including mountain lions, can safely cross the 101 Freeway — a ten-lane highway where 300,000 cars drive daily. Sadly, the crossing comes too late for mountain lion P-78, an avid highway-crosser who was just pronounced dead after ingesting rodenticide poisons and being fatally struck by a car.
According to a long-term National Park Service (NPS) study, the 101 Freeway is the largest barrier between the Santa Monica Mountains and other large natural areas. Reconnecting these habitats would save local mountain lions from extinction and repair this fragmented ecosystem, known as one of 36 biodiversity hotspots worldwide.
The recent death of P-78 is yet another tragic example of the urgent need for this wildlife crossing. P-78 was the 23rd mountain lion to die from road mortality in the NPS study area since 2002.
As the first urban crossing of its scale, the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon will serve as a model for habitat connectivity worldwide. Unlike a typical freeway overpass, the structure will be covered in native vegetation to provide habitat, shelter, food, and water for crossing animals.
The 101 wildlife crossing will break ground this November thanks to a public-private partnership between Caltrans, the NPS, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, and the National Wildlife Federation.
Just imagine mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, mule deer, gopher snakes, desert cottontails, and western toads walking, slithering, or hopping over the 101!
Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources shared this viral video of wild animals using its Parleys Canyon Wildlife Overpass to safely migrate over busy Interstate 80.
We can’t wait to see who will meander over the 101 wildlife crossing!
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