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Mountain Lion P-81 Killed by Vehicle, Found on PCH

P-81’s body was collected on the Pacific Coast Highway near Las Posas Road in the Western Santa Monica Mountains on Sunday, Jan 22.

Vehicle strikes are the leading cause of deaths for mountain lions in the Santa Monica area.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reported that since March 2022, nine mountain lions have been killed by cars.

P-81 has become the 34th mountain lion to die from a road mortality since 2002.

National Park Service biologists (NPS) first captured the male lion in March 2022 when P-81 was only 2 years old.

According to the NPS, P-81 was significant in mountain lion study due to his physical abnormalities that alarmed scientists studying the preservation of mountain lions in Southern California.

A kinked tail shaped like the letter “L” and only one descended testicle marked the first physical evidence of potential inbreeding depression due to a lack of genetic diversity, according to experts.

Biologists believe the lack of genetic diversity in the Santa Monica wildlife is fueled by mountain lions being fenced away by freeways and development.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills is currently under construction and considered to be a critical step in connecting mountain lions and other animals with other populations in the North.

The mountain lion’s death has increased the urgency of understanding and maintaining wildlife populations alive.

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