Southern California

Wildlife Experts Concerned After Another Mountain Lion Fatally Struck on Bay Area Freeway

Animal conservationists are concerned about mountain lions in the Bay Area after one was hit and killed on Interstate 280. They say cars aren't the only threats to big cats, particularly this time of year when they're so active.

Wildlife biologists say young mountain lions gets pushed out by adults and start looking for new space. Sometimes they end up running for their lives across a busy freeway because they do not have a choice.

"For mountain lions, the problem is it's so fragmented all along the coastal areas they're kind of stuck," said Brad Nichols, a wildlife biologist with the Felidae Conservation Fund and Bay Area Puma Project.

Last week a mountain lion was hit and killed on I-280 in San Mateo County. Nichols said it happens more often than people believe.

"You got a combination of no wildlife crossings, plus fencing that's not keeping wildlife out," Nichols said. "They can really wander on the road any time."

The isolation can lead to inbreeding. One solution, wildlife crossings at highways to allow safe access to their natural habitat. Caltrans says they build them on a case-by-case basis, with future plans including crossings in the South Bay and Southern California.

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