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15-Month-Old Mountain Lion Killed Trying To Cross 405 Freeway

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A 15-month-old mountain lion was killed while trying to cross the San Diego (405) Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass, authorities said Wednesday.

The puma, fatally struck by a vehicle near Getty Center Drive on Tuesday, was one of a handful in the Santa Monica Mountains that were being studied by naturalists, according to Woody Smeck, superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

The cat was born in May of 2010 and, at three weeks old, fitted with a collar that enabled researchers to track it, Smeck said. It eventually left its mother’s home range, centered around Malibu Creek State Park, and started moving east.

Researchers are continuing to study two other mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, Smeck said.

Near the Verdugo Mountains bordering Burbank and Glendale, at least five mountain lion sightings have been reported this summer, though it is unclear how many big cats may live in that range, which connects to the San Gabriel Mountains.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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