Despite incredible challenges, a cougar cub was recently spotted in close proximity to Los Angeles.
Though a small population of mountain lions have survived in the hills around L.A. for years, conservationists are celebrating a recent sighting of a cub and its mother.
After following the female cougar, the National Park Service (NPS) caught some video footage of the kitten with its mother on a fresh deer carcass. Until the cub is captured to have a tracking chip inserted, it is unknown if it is male or female.
The pair live in the Santa Monica mountains, hemmed in by bustling freeways. Such an environment certainly comes with its challenges, including vehicle collisions, inbreeding, and even rat poison.
Because of these risks, Beth Pratt-Bergstrom of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is currently spearheading a campaign to build a wildlife corridor bridge to allow the cougar population to cross the 10-lane freeways and expand their territories.
Without sufficient territory sizes, there’s a lot of competition for precious resources. Four of the cub’s siblings were killed earlier this year by natural predators, including a male cougar that cannibalized two of them. Incest is also a common problem, leading to a weak and genetically-isolated population. There are only three known adult males in the population today.
The NPS, NWF, and Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy are working with various other partners to secure $50 million to fund the wildlife corridor bridge project. The idea is that with the bridge installed, a cougar could more safely seek mates and find new hunting or breeding habitat.
Pratt-Bergstrom stated, “Without this corridor, the population could collapse and we are watching closely to see if it can survive long enough, without losing more individuals, especially the males.”