Bobcat Who Survived Woolsey Fire Struck, Killed by Driver in Calabasas: NPS

A bobcat who had survived habitat destruction during the Woolsey Fire was killed in a car crash in Calabasas last week, officials said Monday.

B-361, an adult male, was fatally struck by a driver on Las Virgenes Road last Friday, March 15, staff with the Santa Monica National Recreation Area said in a tweet.

His carcass will undergo a necropsy.

After his entire home range was destroyed in last year’s Woolsey Fire, the cat was known to roam between the burned and unburned areas of Malibu Canyon, officials said.

Officials began tracking B-361 last year on Nov. 6, two days before the deadly blaze broke out, said Joanne Moriarty, a wildlife biologist on the project.

Vehicles are the second-most common cause of death in the local bobcat population, Moriarty said, with two major freeways — the 405 and 101 — and several other large thoroughfares cutting through their range.

“It’s definitely an important source of mortality,” Moriarty said. Mange is the bobcats’ leading cause of death.

At least 18 mountain lions have been fatally struck by vehicles in the area studied by national park staff since 2002. Most recently, adult female P-23 was found dead along Malibu Canyon Road in late January.

A number for bobcats was not immediately available, but officials say their survival rates in the study area have decreased since 2002.

A total of 363 bobcats have been studied since 1996, with the largest population west of the 405 Freeway between Topanga and Point Mugu. Other groups live west of the 405 in the Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park areas as well as in open spaces north of the 101 Freeway in the Conejo Valley.

Plans are in the works to construct wildlife crossing bridges that would allow big cats to move freely across both the 101 and 405, but it’s unclear when that would actually come to fruition. The complete just one, activists would need to raise $60 million by 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Moriarty said the fundraising effort is still underway.

“They’re getting there, but it’s a long way to go to get the money for the full project,” she said.

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