Cougars need a large range and California is full of freeways.

So if you happen to be a cougar that is living in that sort of Los Angeles ecosystem, particularly the Santa Monica Mountain mountain lion or cougar population, you have to cross roads like the busy 101 or the 405. And if you've ever driven in LA, you know how busy and crazy those roads can be for people in cars so let alone you know this sort of elusive big predator that's trying to navigate the landscape there.

The good news is, National Wildlife Federation is spearheading a project to create an overpass so mountain lions and other wildlife can circumvent the traffic and be able to connect with their contiguous wildlife areas.

That's right, because when we fragment wildlife habitat, their populations decline particularly with species like the cougar that really do have such wide ranges and so that's really what National Wildlife Week is all about this year. It's all about celebrating you know America's big backyard where we share our space with wildlife.

So I hope everybody goes right now and takes the pledge.

Updated on November 22, 2023

Cougar Fast Facts

We’re kicking off the first day of National Wildlife Week with the mighty cougar! Here are five fast facts about these majestic creatures.

Big Cats in the Big City

Besides Mumbai, Los Angeles is the only other megacity that big cats call home.

Monitoring and Reporting

Researchers tagged and currently monitor around 100 cougars around the Los Angeles area, giving us better insight into their behavior and well-being.

Population is Stable, For Now

The population of cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains is currently stable, however it can easily be threatened in the near future as roads and developments encroach their habitat. This makes them more susceptible to vehicle strikes and also limits their freedom to roam and mate with other packs.

Natural Pest Control Also Helps the Cougars

As big cats live among humans, they’re exposed to and threatened by dangerous items. A widespread issue for cougars living in city limits is anticoagulant rodenticides, aka rat poison. To keep cougars and other neighborhood animals safe, try these safer rodent control solutions.


Potentially the most famous cougar in all North America, P-22, lived in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. He traveled down from the Santa Monica Mountains and had lived harmoniously with park-goers since 2012. He had to cross two major freeways on his voyage! Sightings of P-22 were rare, and hikers more frequently report seeing scant and pawprints around the park’s trails.

Sources: National Park Services, National Wildlife Federation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Protecting the Cougars

A wildlife overpass over some of the busiest highways in California? Cool! Learn more from Naturalist David Mizejewski and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom host, Peter Gros.

Did you know that cougars will be a part of the big cat episode in our new series, Protecting the Wild? Check out the teaser.

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