A California Land Purchase Will Link Mountain Lion Communities

Land Purchase

There are plenty of ways people can help the environment. This includes the simple things like conserving water or turning out lights. However, more eye-catching opportunities often present themselves from time to time. For example, a recent land purchase in California will help mountain lions and other big cats in the area.

The Nature Conservatory recently made the large land purchase. The purchase is a 73-acre property adjacent to the eastern side of Interstate 15. An ecological preserve is on the other side of the busy freeway. It is hoped the land purchase will be the first step in bridging the two properties by building a bridge or even a tunnel. This structure can then successfully link the Santa Ana and Palomar mountains.

The beneficiaries of a connecting bridge or tunnel would be about the 30 mountain lions that live in the Santa Ana mountains. According to researchers, this population of mountain lions is severely inbred. Without new mountain lions introduced into the gene pool, all of the mountain lions in the Santa Ana mountains could be deceased within 50 years.

There are believed to be hundreds of healthy mountain lions in the Palomar mountains. A bridge or tunnel connecting the Santa Ana and Palomar mountains can restore the health of the Santa Ana mountain lion population by allowing all of the mountain lions to breed together.

Interestingly, genetic studies show that only seven male mountain lions have successfully crossed Interstate 15 in the past 15 years. This includes four mountain lions that crossed from west to east and three from east to west. This limited movement shows how desperately a nature crossing is needed.

A nature crossing over Interstate 15 has been planned for years. In fact, experts were consulted in 2015 to determine the best point to have a nature crossing. After examining the needs of many different plants and animals, it was determined the recently purchased land was one of the best locations to help the largest number of plants and animals, including the mountain lions. The property cost $1.69 million.

It will be years before a bridge or tunnel is built to connect the two properties. Experts are currently seeking proposals that can be built. There is even a slight chance a bridge and a tunnel might both be built to connect the two properties.

What do you think about this proposed nature crossing? Let us know below!