Study Warns SoCal Mountain Lions Could Go Extinct
Barring serious efforts to bridge their isolated habitats, Southern California pumas are facing the threat of extinction, according to a study published in Ecological Application in March.
The study concludes that two of Southern California's mountain lion populations could be wiped out within the next 50 years. That’s because the state’s small enclaves — found in parts of Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Los Angeles counties — are separated from each other by freeways and real estate development, which leads to inbreeding or a lack of reproduction.
"This study gives us a much better idea of how quickly we need to take action – and it’s like yesterday," said the report’s co-author T. Winston Vickers, as quoted by SoCal Connected.
Wildlife advocates have been pushing for new land bridges that would facilitate safe passage for wildlife and cougars in particular. The proposals are incredibly expensive, with the cost of a wildlife pass in Agoura Hills estimated at $60 million alone.