The recent story, Local Mountain Lions Show First Reproductive Effects of Inbreeding, highlights a study that found mountain lions in the Santa Ana and Santa Monica ranges are hurtling towards extinction—unless they can navigate across California’s dense network of roads that separate them from a broader pool of mates. Data from GPS tracking collars show that mountain lions rarely attempt this journey and of those who do, many don’t survive.
Wildlife crossing structures—like underpasses, culverts, and overpasses—are a proven, effective solution for mountain lions and many other species to safely cross our highways, not just in southern California’s mountain ranges but throughout the State. Though wildlife crossing structures are gaining more traction in California, they are not being implemented at the scale needed to save our mountain lions and other species, where roads are driving them closer to extinction.
We need statewide legislation that establishes clear mandates to build and maintain our transportation infrastructure to accommodate wildlife movement. Stronger policy to directly support and enhance collaboration between our state agencies will ensure California’s incredibly diverse wild spaces and wildlife can coexist with our roads and residents.