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Home / fatally struck

Mountain lion fatally struck by vehicle on PCH near Malibu

A mountain lion was fatally struck by a vehicle along Pacific Coast Highway west of Malibu, state officials said Wednesday.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the mountain lion was struck around 7 p.m. Tuesday on PCH near Leo Carrillo State Beach.

“CDFW was immediately in touch with a local veterinarian to prepare for assessment and possible treatment, but video provided to the department by law enforcement indicated the lion had traumatic injuries,” according to Tim Daly of the CDFW.

Video posted on social media showed the hobbled mountain lion suffering from an apparently broken front leg on the side of the road. The cougar tried repeatedly to climb up the hillside next to the road, but was unable to move to do so on a broken leg. The animal then settled into the dirt on the side of the road.

Daly said CDFW officials went to the scene and were working to “immobilize” the animal for capture and treatment, “but the lion died of those injuries just before 9:30 p.m.”

Daly said the mountain lion was not wearing a radio collar, and thus was not one of the dozens of cougars being tracked by National Park Service researchers in the Santa Monica Mountains.

In January, a collared mountain lion known as P-81 was fatally struck by a vehicle in the same general area, on PCH near Las Posas Road.

The previous month, famed cougar P-22 — known as the “Hollywood Cat” for successfully crossing two freeways to take up residence in Griffith Park — was euthanized after being captured due to concerns about his health. Officials said P-22 appeared to have been struck by a vehicle shortly before his capture.

Park Service officials have said vehicle strikes are the leading cause of death for mountain lions in their study area.

Since March 2022, officials said, nine mountain lions have died by vehicle strikes, six of them radio-collared.

P-81 was the 34th mountain lion, and the 13th radio-collared cat, to die from road mortality since 2002, according to recreation area officials.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing over the Ventura (101) Freeway is under construction in the Agoura Hills area, and is seen as a “major and critical step” in enabling the big cats and other wildlife to expand their territories — and do so safely, without having to cross major roads.

The landscaped crossing will span 10 lanes of the 101 Freeway in Liberty Canyon when completed in 2025, and 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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