Mountain lion successfully crosses 405 freeway, gives researchers new insight

It’s a big achievement for a big cat living in Los Angeles. Mountain lion P-61 has successfully crossed the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass area, the National Parks Service said. 

According to National Park Service biologists the mountain lion crossed the freeway on July 19th between 2 and 4 a.m. 

They say this is the first time during a course of their 17-year study that a GPS-collared lion has crossed the 405.  

“Although P-61 successfully crossed the 405, his feat is a reminder of how challenging Southern California’s road network is for mountain lions and other wildlife, as well,” said Jeff Sikich, biologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “Others haven’t been so lucky.”

In the same where P-61 crossed P-18 was hit and killed by a vehicle in 2011 and an uncollared lion was hit and killed in 2009, officials said. 

In a statement released by the park services, they say freeways act as fences for the local mountain lion population, causing them stay in one area only. Officials say that has led to low genetic diversity levels in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Another mountain lion, P-22, crossed the 405 and the 101 freeways years ago to get to Griffith Park. However, since the animal wasn’t collared officials say they know very little about his journey. 

The National Park Service says P-61 was first captured and given a GPS collar in October of 2017. He weighed about 119 pounds and is believed to be approximately four years old. They say recording his data will help researchers learn about landscape connectivity in the area.