Nov 6, 2013

Highway Crossings

By Rebecca Dmytryk

39M, the young male mountain lion that wandered into downtown Santa Cruz earlier this year (link to our original story), is dead. 

He was struck and killed by a car on Highway 17 on October 31st. 

Please read more about 39M - his documented travels over the last 5 months, and about what's being done locally to improve highway crossings, HERE.

Urban development results in fragmentation of wildlands. Wildlife is forced into "island" habitats where natural and necessary migration between populations comes with great risk

Highway deaths and other human-caused mortalities have a tremendous impact on the overall health of wild populations. Maybe more than you might imagine.

It's not, simply, the loss of individuals, it's how they are taken out - indiscriminately. This goes against nature - against the natural law and order of things - survival of the fittest. 

Case in point: An adult male mountain lion - a proven survivor - was migrating into new territory, bringing valuable genetic material to the isolated Santa Monica Mountain's population. He was killed October 6th in his attempt to cross Highway 101.

Please read more about the lions of Southern California and what's being done there to reduce highway casualties, HERE.

Check out these two recommended reads on the subject:

The Spine of the Continent

Safe Passages

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There has to be a way to protect wild animals from traffic hazards. This is a issue that has broken my heart several times most recently when I monitored a badger den for several weeks when finally found a female had joined the male during last spring at Los Vaqueros watershed in Alameda County. Two weeks later the female was killed on Vasco Rd. In many areas concrete K rails are placed in the road center to deter head on crashes. This makes crossing even tougher for large mammals.
Nice work on the article, a real issue to be sure.
Dave Harper