Mountain lion kitten killed on Southern California freeway

AP News
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Posted: Jan 05, 2017 9:46 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A mountain lion kitten has been struck and killed on a Southern California freeway — the same road where his mother died last month, it was announced Thursday.

The death of the 7-month-old male known as P-52 was announced by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

The Facebook posting said P-52 was recently struck on State Route 118, a freeway in the northwestern corner of the San Fernando Valley. It didn't provide the exact date but said the kitten died only a few miles from where his mother was struck on Dec. 3.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will conduct a necropsy to determine whether P-52 had been healthy, according to the posting.

"Although this is a very sad turn of events, I hope that our research can shed insight into the lives of these animals and will inspire future conservation efforts to help wildlife move through the region more safely," said the posting by Kate Kuykendall, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service.

The kitten is one of three offspring of P-39 that were found over the summer in a den in the Santa Susana Mountains north of Los Angeles.

The habitat in and around the Santa Monica Mountains is fragmented and hemmed in by urban sprawl and major highways.

The 5-year-old mother, who had a tracking collar, had stayed in wilderness north of the 118. She crossed the highway for the first time a few days before her death and had made a kill to the south of the freeway, authorities said.

At least 14 mountain lions have perished on roads in the region since 2002, authorities said.