Mountain lions have roamed in Southern California for centuries, but are at risk of extinction due to separation. Los Angeles hopes to save mountain lions and other wildlife by building the largest wildlife bridge in the world.
Developers are in the final stages of designing the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing that will span over 200 feet across a 10 lane highway. The crossing will be 165 feet wide and covered in trees and bushes to blend in with the surroundings.
Beth Pratt with the National Wildlife Federation told KCAL9, “They’re not just bridges. The animals have to feel safe.”
In addition to the trees and bushes, the overpass will have sound and light-blocking barriers so animals will not even know they are on a bridge.
The $87 million dollar project will be built over 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills, California. This freeway has 300,000 cars travel on it every day. Mountain lions and many other wild animals will have safe passage to and from Santa Monica Mountains, allowing them to breed and flourish.
“When the freeway went in, it cut off an ecosystem. We’re just now seeing impacts of that,” said Pratt.
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Currently, mountain lions in Southern California are trapped in sections due to highways and forced to inbreed. If this continues mountain lions could be extinct in 15 years. The proposed overpass would increase genetic diversity in mountain lions and save them from extinction.
If all goes as planned, the bridge will be complete by 2023.
“We’re doing this in LA, a city of 4 million people. If LA can do it, it can work anywhere. Even in a giant city, we’ll make a home for a mountain lion,” stated Pratt.
Learn more in the video below.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.