The Liberty Canyon overcrossing is counting the hours to ground breaking. When completed, the overcrossing will help alleviate inbreeding among cougars and other local wildlife and reduce wildlife death by traffic accident. Friday’s groundbreaking by Caltrans will start the clock on the two-year project.
Officially known as the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Overcrossing after a major donor the bridge has two major functions. The crossing will connect home ranges of many animals including deer, mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats. This will allow mingling and should reduce inbreeding. Second, the pathway should drastically reduce traffic fatalities among wild species.
The project is the result of public and private efforts uniting federal,state, and local agencies and numerous wildlife organizations. Tens of millions of dollars have been raised to make the trail a reality.
Public interest in the crossing grew as a result of a 20-year National Park Service (NPS) study. The study counted mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. That study revealed that there were more lions in the area than earlier believed. However, they were probably doomed to local extinction. Traffic accidents and inbreeding were the major culprits. Local citizens decided to take action and the project was begun.
Other countries such as India face similar conservation issues. India has been working to preserve many animals, including tigers. The goal in both countries has been to connect populations.