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Why Did The Mountain Lion Cross The Freeway? To Breed

In Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, there is a towering lion famous as a “Hollywood Lion.”

The large cat — famous as P22 to ecologists — somehow done it opposite dual really bustling freeways to get there. Mountain lions like solitude, yet if P22 wants to find a partner and have some cubs, he’ll have to risk his life again in Los Angeles traffic.

P22′s quandary is one faced by an whole race of towering lions along a 101 Freeway, reduction than 30 miles divided from Griffith Park. The turnpike slices right opposite a forest in this widen of a Santa Monica Mountains.

“No one in 1950 was meditative about removing wildlife opposite roads when a turnpike was built,” says Seth Riley, National Park Service wildlife ecologist. “So not usually do we have a turnpike yet we have heated growth all along it. It’s fundamentally a large growth corridor.”

That’s removed a towering lion race here, trapping them between a turnpike and a ocean. That, in turn, has led to serious inbreeding, that could meant a finish of a group.

Riley says a identical conditions threatened a Florida panther, also surrounded by encroaching tellurian development.

“They got down to 30 animals; they had even reduce genetic farrago than we’re saying here,” he says. Riley says they had holes in a heart, illness issues and vital reproductive problems like waste males.

A Dangerous Crossing

Riley and his co-worker wish a lions in a Santa Monica Mountains to equivocate that fate. They lane a series of GPS-tagged towering lions on both sides of a turnpike to guard a populations. When a masculine lion from a north named P12 crossed a turnpike to join a removed Santa Monica cats, a ecologists felt like popping some champagne.

“He came from a north and had a lot of genetic element that was new to a Santa Monica Mountains,” he says. “Fortunately not usually did he tarry [the crossing] yet he afterwards became a widespread tact masculine … and had many brood and continues to have offspring.”

But unfortunately, one new cat can’t repair a inbreeding problem, as P12 eventually valid to Riley and his colleagues.

“The bad news is he has corresponding … really during slightest once with his daughter,” Riley says.

Walking along a freeway, it’s easy to see since some-more lions don’t make a crossing. It’s indeed kind of extraordinary that any lions make it across. It’s not only a turnpike that’s a barrier. There are structures, walls and fencing on both sides; it’s only about unfit for anyone, including people, to get through.

Other lions have tried, yet they weren’t as propitious as P12. One that was strike by a car, Riley says, competence have primarily done it opposite a trade — yet got incited around during a maintaining wall and was struck going behind opposite a freeway.

One Solution: A Wildlife Overpass

Ecologists in Florida solved their inbreeding problem by transplanting cats from apart populations. But ecologists in California consider there’s a simpler, healthy resolution that takes advantage of a race of towering lions literally right opposite a street.

“Our genuine wish is to have an overpass opposite 101,” Riley says.

Wildlife overpasses have been built successfully in Montana, Canada and a Netherlands. They’re far-reaching bridges planted with grass, trees and other vegetation. For motorists, it competence demeanour like any other unchanging overpass solely for a foliage flourishing on it.

“It’s flattering remarkable,” says Barbara Marquez, comparison environmental planner for a California Department of Transportation. “It’s an prolongation of a medium from one side to another.”

From a air, it would demeanour like a patch of forest was channel a freeway, only as a turnpike crosses a forest everywhere else. Marquez says a overpass won’t only be for lions; a plant cover will advantage a lot of other class that wish to cranky — including people.

“This wildlife overcrossing would bond a route from one side to another, so pedestrians would be authorised to use it as well,” she says. “It would really be innovative, since there’s zero like that here in California.”

Marquez declined to put a cost tab on a overpass since it’s still in a formulation stages, and a cost depends a lot on a distance and scope. Wildlife overpasses in Canada have cost only a few million dollars, yet some in a U.S. are projected to cost most more.

Seth Riley thinks that a overpass would have advantages that can’t be totalled in dollars.

“It’s expensive, it’s gonna take some time, yet we consider it would be an extraordinary matter about wildlife and charge in a second-largest civil area in a country,” Riley says. “Everyone that would expostulate that turnpike would see, ‘Wow, they put something over this turnpike privately for wildlife.’ ”

Despite open and domestic support, a National Park Service and a state’s travel agencies have spent some-more than a decade perplexing to account a project. And right now, appropriation for infrastructure is tight. The sovereign supervision recently denied an focus for a $2 million travel extend to compensate for partial of a overpass.

But ecologists and charge activists aren’t giving up. They’re operative with internal agencies and perplexing to lift support and income from a private sector.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, revisit http://www.npr.org/.

Article source: http://wamc.org/post/why-did-mountain-lion-cross-freeway-breed

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