In the Face of an ‘Extinction Vortex,’ a Radical Plan Emerges to Save Southern California Cougars

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The future is looking increasingly bleak for some Southern California mountain lions.

Urban encroachment, inbreeding, vehicle strikes, rat poison and wildfire have all taken their toll on cougars living in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains.

Now, research published Wednesday suggests there’s an almost one-in-four chance the charismatic cats could become extinct in those areas within 50 years.

In the face of such a dire prognosis — what biologists call an extinction vortex — conservationists are considering a desperate and controversial remedy: capturing pumas in one part of the Santa Anas and trucking them across the 15 Freeway so that they can breed with isolated mates on the other side of traffic.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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