Freeway crossing to give wildlife room to roam

U.S. & World

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (AP) — This is US101 a major freeway which cuts across Calfornia’s Agoura Hills.

The area is home to a number of creatures including a mountain lion.

Animals living here now find the areas they once roamed to hunt for food and find a mate are severely limited.

Conservationists are hoping to overcome this massive obstacle by creating a natural wide crossing which will enable the animals to roam freely.

The mostly privately funded crossing will straddle the Southern California Highway.

Officials say it will be the first of its kind near a major metropolis and the largest in the world, stretching 200 feet (61 meters) above 10 lanes of busy highway and a feeder road just 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of downtown LA.

Eighty percent of the money to build the crossing will come from private sources.

Beth Pratt is the California Regional Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation:

She says: “What you’re seeing with the 101 freeway is it is actually acted as an ecological barrier, and what it’s doing is creating an island of the Santa Monica Mountains, cut off from the rest of the world. And as we know, nature does not like islands.”

Scientists tracking mountain lions fitted with GPS collars found the roadways are trapping animals in the Santa Monica Mountains, which run along the Malibu coast and across the middle of Los Angeles to Griffith Park.

The result of that isolation, researchers say, is imminent genetic collapse for mountain lions.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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