Six bobcats have been struck and killed by motorists driving in the Santa Monica Mountains over the past three months, park officials said Monday.
The deaths include two cats outfitted with radio collars as part of the National Park Service’s study of urban big cats, one a male and the other a female who was found to be lactating, Ranger Ana Beatriz said in a post on the recreation area’s Facebook page.
The male was B-361, an adult who had survived the Woolsey Fire before being killed by a car on Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas. After the deadly blaze destroyed his home range, B-361 had roamed the Malibu Canyon area.
Vehicles are the second-most common cause of death in the local bobcat population, with mange being the first, according to wildlife biologist Joanne Moriarty, who’s been studying the cats for over 15 years.
The feline’s range is intercepted by two major freeways — the 405 and 101 — as well as several other large thoroughfares.
Other fatalities have occurred on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas and Potrero and Lynn roads in Thousand Oaks, officials said.
Last Friday, B-361, an adult male bobcat, was hit & killed by a car on Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas. This male cat roamed between the burned and unburned areas of Malibu Canyon. His carcass will undergo a necropsy. #santamonicamountains pic.twitter.com/puGZ5ElCsm
— Santa Monica Mtns (@SantaMonicaMtns) March 18, 2019
Moriarty does not recall any other period with so many bobcat deaths attributed to vehicles over such a short period of time, Beatriz wrote.
Overall, bobcats’ survival rates in the study area have decreased since 2002, Moriarty previously told KTLA.
“As sad as this is, there is a safety message here,” Moriarty said in a statement. “Please keep your eyes open on all roads, especially ones where there is open space on both sides. Also, slow down and don’t drive distracted. This is their habitat, too!”
Since 2002, at least 18 mountain lions have also been fatally struck by vehicles in the area studied by wildlife biologists.