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P-61, first collared mountain lion to cross 405 Freeway, fatally struck on Sepulveda Pass

Posted: 2:51 PM, Sep 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-09 17:51:50-04
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A male mountain lion that made headlines just months ago for successfully crossing the 405 Freeway was struck and killed Saturday on that same section of the 10-lane roadway, park officials said.

The 4-year-old big cat known as P-61 was hit around 4 a.m. near Bel Air Crest Road and Sepulveda Boulevard, according to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area officials.

"We don't know why he tried to cross but it might be bc of another lion in the area," park officials tweeted.

In July, P-61 became the first mountain lion documented to cross the massive freeway during a 17-year study of mountain lions.

"Although P-61 successfully crossed the 405, his feat is a reminder of how challenging Southern California's road network is for mountain lions and other wildlife, as well," Jeff Sikich, biologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said at the time. "Others haven't been so lucky."

P-61 was first captured and outfitted with a GPS collar in October 2017. The big cat weighed 119 pounds at his most recent capture, officials said.

The most famous mountain lion to cross the 405 is P-22, a lion that lives in Griffith Park, but P-22 was not wearing a GPS collar at the time of his journey.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.