LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The cub of a mountain lion recently killed while crossing a freeway near Chatsworth has also been struck and killed on the same freeway.
“We are saddened to report that the 7-month-old kitten known as P-52 was recently struck and killed by a vehicle on the 118 Freeway,” the National Park Service wrote on its Facebook page.
P-39, was struck and killed on the same freeway just a few miles away on Dec. 3, one month before her cub died, park officials said.
Concern for the other two cubs, P-50 and P-51, has now grown as their chances of survival without their mother remained low.
But the National Park Service said stepping in to save them was not an option for two reasons.
“First, we don’t know where they are, and these kittens are no longer these small little kittens that stay in one location,” National Park Service Public Affairs Officer Kate Kuykendall said.
Their mom, P-39, had a tracking collar. But now with her gone, there was no way to know if the cubs were still alive or where to find them.
The second reason was “to take animals out of their natural environment and very high-quality mountain lion habitat, where they do have a chance at survival and put them in captivity for the rest of their lives. I don’t think that’s a good option,” Kuykendall added.
“It’s difficult to know how to intervene but then also to know how to let the wildlife be wild,” said one woman who lived in the area. “What we try to do here is try to live in harmony with our surroundings, and in order for that to happen, we have to let wildlife come and go.”
Both P-52 and his mom were killed on the same freeway, not far from a tunnel they could use under the freeway.
The park service said the proposed wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills would help guide the cougars to that tunnel and expand their space to roam in an area otherwise undeveloped.
“This is the 14th known case of a mountain lion killed on a freeway or road in our study area since 2002,” according to the National Park Service.