Mountain lion P-81 likely killed by vehicle, 9th such fatality in a year

The P-81 puma was likely hit and killed by a car Sunday on the Pacific Coast Highway, the National Park Service said.

The remains of the 4-year-old male cougar were collected from PCH near Las Posas Road in Ventura County. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will perform an autopsy to confirm the cause of death.

The cat was first captured in the western Santa Monica Mountains in March 2020 and provided researchers with evidence that the region’s mountain lion population was having trouble.

P-81 was “significant in our study of cougars because of its physical abnormalities – a twisted tail with the tip shaped like the letter ‘L’ and a single descended testicle,” the park service said.

The anomalies were the first physical evidence of possible inbreeding and a lack of genetic diversity in the puma population.

The findings have increased “the urgency to understand, maintain and increase wildlife connectivity in the region,” the park service said.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing currently under construction on Highway 101 in Agoura Hills aims to allow cats to roam more freely in the area and connect with lion populations to the north.

P-81’s death comes just over a month after the iconic P-22 was euthanized after sustaining serious injuries, including a fractured skull, likely caused by a car.

With P-81 likely killed in collision with a vehicle, the total number of cougars struck and killed by cars since March 2022 rises to nine, the park service said.

Los Angeles Times

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