Mountain lion hit and killed on 405 Freeway a day before wildlife crossing groundbreaking

A mountain lion was hit and killed by a car on the 405 Freeway overnight. 

According to California Highway Patrol, it happened just after 1 a.m. in the southbound lanes at Getty Center Drive. 

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CHP said animal control was able to move the mountain lion to the shoulder.

There was no immediate information on whether the lion was one of dozens being tracked by National Park Service researchers in the Santa Monica Mountains. Ana Cholo of the National Park Service told City News Service the cat is not P-22, the Southland's most well-known big cat who has roamed the hills of Griffith Park for years. 

P-22 previously managed to cross the 405 and Ventura (101) freeways. The lion's death came one day before a groundbreaking ceremony for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, which will span the 101 Freeway in Liberty Canyon near Agoura Hills. 

The $85 million project will be the largest crossing of its kind in the world -- a fully landscaped passage for wildlife that will stretch 210 feet over 10 lanes of highway and pavement.

The Wildlife Crossing is being developed following 20 years of studies from the National Park Service that found roads and urban development are deadly for animals trying to navigate the Los Angeles area. Urban development has also created islands of habitats that can genetically isolate the region's animals.

Researchers have estimated that the mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains could become extinct within 50 years without an influx of genetic diversity. The lions are largely isolated due to freeways that act as barriers to movement across the region. The crossing aims to provide a connection between the small population of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains and the larger and genetically diverse populations to the north.

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City News Service contributed to this report.