THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA.com) — A young mountain lion was struck and killed by a vehicle on Interstate 5 near Castaic, officials said Thursday.
A male known as P-32, the only one known to have dispersed out of the Santa Monica Mountains and into more contiguous habitat areas to the north, was 21 months old and was first ear-tagged by the National Park Service at 4 weeks of age. National Park Services officials say he was likely hit by a vehicle between 4 and 6 a.m. Monday, based on the GPS data from his collar, spokeswoman Kate Kuykendall said.
P-32 is the 12th mountain lion killed on a freeway since National Park Services officials began studying mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains.
P-32 had previously succeeded in crossing the 101 Freeway, State Route 23, Highway 118 and Highway 126. National Park Services officials say P-32 was a textbook case of successful dispersal all the way from the Santa Monica Mountains into Los Padres National Forest before he headed east and attempted to cross one more freeway.
“This case illustrates the challenges that mountain lions in this region face, particularly males,” Dr. Seth Riley, a wildlife ecologist with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a statement. “P-32 conquered all kinds of freeways and highways to reach the Los Padres, but it was probably another dominant male that made him leave the area and attempt one last crossing, which obviously was not successful.”
Although the cause of P-32’s death is already known, biologists conducted a necropsy to evaluate his condition and take tissue samples to determine, among other things, whether he had been exposed to rat poison. Other than the injuries he sustained in the collision, P-32 appeared to be in good condition, Kuykendall said.