AP- Transportation officials and conservationists will build a mostly privately funded wildlife crossing over a major Southern California highway. It will give big cats, coyotes, deer, lizards, snakes and other creatures a safe route to open space and better access to food and potential mates.
The span along U.S. 101 will only be the second animal overpass in a state where tunnels are more common. Officials say it will be the first of its kind near a major metropolis and the largest in the world, stretching 200 feet above 10 lanes of busy highway and a feeder road just 35 miles northwest of downtown LA.
Scientists tracking mountain lions fitted with GPS collars found that roadways are largely trapping animals in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Rsearchers say the result of that isolation is imminent genetic collapse for mountain lions. A study published this year by the University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Davis; and the National Park Service. found habitat loss has driven the populations to inbreeding that could lead to extinction within 15 years unless the big cats regularly connect with other populations to increase their diversity.