Mountain Lion 'Uno' killed by vehicle in Orange County

A mountain lion has died after it was struck by a vehicle in Orange County.

F312, a female mountain lion known as "Uno" from the UC Davis Mountain Lion Project, was killed while attempting to cross Santiago Canyon Road, a familiar route she had navigated successfully in the past. Despite valiant efforts by local veterinarians, Orange County Animal Care officers, and wildlife personnel, Uno succumbed to severe head and chest injuries before substantial treatment could be administered.

"Sadly, it’s become far too easy to predict how a mountain lion will die in Southern California. California pumas face too many threats from humans, and that’s particularly true in the Santa Ana Mountains where Uno perished," Tiffany Yap, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity said, "We can help prevent these tragedies by making mountain lion protections permanent and building more crossings so people and wildlife can travel safely."

The Center for Biological Diversity is actively working towards listing Southern and Central California mountain lions under the state Endangered Species Act. Currently provisionally listed, a final decision on permanent protections is anticipated in 2024. The Center played a pivotal role in sponsoring two bills, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2022 and 2023, offering increased safeguards for mountain lions and wildlife.

The California Ecosystems Protection Act of 2023 expands restrictions on toxic rat poisons, a threat to mountain lions, while the Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act mandates Caltrans to prioritize crossing structures when building or improving roadways. These legislative efforts aim to mitigate the risks posed by road crossings, a leading cause of mortality for mountain lions in the region.

Uno, distinguished by a nickname given by local photographers due to an old eye injury, became a local celebrity frequently captured on trail cameras. Her untimely death underscores the urgent need for sustained conservation measures to protect mountain lions and their habitats in Southern California.