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Officials Propose Wildlife Overpass on 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills

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Mountain lions, bobcats and other wildlife would have less chance of becoming roadkill if the state adopts a plan to build a landscaped bridge over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills, supporters of the proposal said Wednesday.

State agencies, elected officials and wildlife advocates urged the state to provide the much-needed link in an area where rampant development and highways have fragmented once-continuous habitat. The 165-foot-wide, 200-foot-long overpass near Liberty Canyon Road would connect the Santa Monica Mountains on the south with the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains.

Large carnivores in particular have found the 101 to be a formidable barrier. Since National Park Service biologists began researching mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains in 2002, motorists have struck and killed a dozen of the big cats in the study area, including a male puma hit on the 101 near Liberty Canyon two years ago.

Urbanization has taken a toll on Southern California’s mountain lion population, spurring battles over shrinking territory and a depletion of genetic diversity because of inbreeding.

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