Wildlife Crossing 101

Visualization of the future completed Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing - funded entirely by private donations

Mountain lions die every year by trying to cross freeways and getting hit by motorists. Their cubs are then left to starve. Wildlife crossings have been found to be astonishingly effective at funneling animals toward safe crossings

Beth Pratt, Save LA Cougars

The National Wildlife Federation's #SaveLACougars campaign announced today that fundraising for the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon over the 101 Freeway in the Los Angeles area reached a pivotal $18 million-mark last month. This includes a recent $1.4 million gift from a private donor-bringing the project's fundraising to an exciting homestretch and putting the groundbreaking within sight.

"The incredible support of people from around the world has allowed us to advance this project from a visionary idea to an impending reality. This past fall, we released new design visualizations, Caltrans will have the blueprints for the crossing completed this summer, and if fundraising remains strong, we will break ground in November," said Beth Pratt, California Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation and leader of the #SaveLACougars campaign.

The wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon is unprecedented in many ways. It is the first urban crossing of its scale, upon completion will likely be the world's largest crossing, and will serve as a model for urban wildlife conservation across the globe.

The crossing also includes the distinction of being the first of its kind in the country to be funded primarily by private dollars. To build this visionary structure and save a population of mountain lions from extinction, the project relies on the generosity of philanthropists, such as an anonymous donor from La Canada Flintridge, California. With her $1.4 million recent gift, she has donated a total of $2 million to the project to date.

Her personal interest in the lives of wild animals goes back to 1970 when she and her late husband first went to East Africa. At home, their backyard acreage has hosted most kinds of suburban wildlife: squirrels, rabbits, bobcats, coyotes, skunks, common and rare birds, an occasional possum and raccoon, and one stag.

"There is always something to look at, sometimes quite extraordinary," she observes. Her interest in the crossing began, she explains, with reading about the project: "I had long followed articles in the Los Angeles Times about the fatalities of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains trying to cross the freeways that define their living spaces.”

“In 2018 an article reported that Caltrans was working on a design for a freeway overcrossing at Liberty Canyon, but that it would not be financed by the annual budget of Caltrans. So, I wanted to contribute to help make this a reality.”

To invest in this once-in-a-lifetime project for the next century that will save a threatened population of mountain lions and revolutionize the possibilities for wildlife conservation around the globe, please contact Beth Pratt at prattb@nwf.org or (209) 620-6271. Naming and recognition opportunities are available for leadership level donations.


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