To be published by Palm and Pine
How are we going to protect our endangered Mountain Lions in Southern California ?
Michael Momeni, PhD
The drought has stressed many wildlife species. The narrow mountain range along the Riverside and Orange Counties has been home to about 20 Southern California Mountain lions. Mountain lions require a large track of space estimated as about 200 miles for hunting and roaming. Under the severe drought conditions, the lions would require a larger range for hunting due to scarcity of deer and other wildlife species.
The Highway 15 interrupts the crossing between the Santa Ana Mountains and Palomar Mountains between Temecula and Rainbow. The wildlife who attempts to cross the highway is at risk of being killed by cars and create road hazard to motor vehicles. In addition to deer, the documented mountains lions killed on the Southern California highways, four were between Temecula and Rainbow.
Another serious problem is degradation of the genetic pool by genetic isolation due to highway 15 interruption. The lack of gene mixing, forced by inbreeding, makes the small population susceptible to disease and physical abnormalities affecting the whole Southern California mountain lion population.
We had an unfortunate mountain lion death on Friday, March 6, 2015. The lion, a healthy 125 pounds male yearling, was seeking refuge in a loading dock at the Promenade in Temecula. The State Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens missed the lion shoulder and the tranquilizer entered the lung tissue causing his death.
A wildlife overpass on Highway 93 (Image via Big Think) in Montana.
This wildlife bridge in Singapore (source: ecological bridge) permits safe passage of wildlife across the busy highway.