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Wildlife Crossing Project Receives $25 Million Challenge Grant
Adult mountain lions must disperse into new territory when they reach maturity or risk being killed by the dominant male in their area, but the 101 has transformed the Santa Monica Mountains into an island, separated from the other ranges. Mountain lion P-32 is one of the only big cats to successfully cross the 101 freeway. Tragically, he died during a second freeway crossing. Two mountain lions were struck by vehicles and killed on the 101 just last year. The Liberty Canyon crossing is intended to give mountain lions and other wildlife a safe passage over the freeway, with minimal impact to the 300,000+ daily commuters who use the road.

Wildlife Crossing Project Receives $25 Million Challenge Grant 

The Annenberg Foundation has made a record $25 million grant to the National Wildlife Federation to help fund the Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway. The Annenberg Foundation is challenging other philanthropic organizations and individuals to match the money and help the #SaveLACougars campaign to meet its fundraising goal and break ground on the project later this year. 

“There’s a reason I wanted to support this crossing and issue this challenge: We need to move beyond mere conservation, toward a kind of environmental rejuvenation,” said Wallis Annenberg, the chair, president, and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. 

“Wildlife crossings are powerfully effective at doing just that—restoring ecosystems that have been fractured and disrupted. It’s a way of saying, there are solutions to our deepest ecological challenges, and this is the kind of fresh new thinking that will get us there… Our hope is that a strong state and federal role won’t be far behind.” The bridge will be the largest wildlife crossing in the world, and is intended to reconnect a long-fragmented ecosystem and help ensure the continued health and survival of the endangered mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains, as well as other wildlife.

The plan, which calls for a fully landscaped bridge that will cross ten lanes of highway and an access road, is being funded in large part through private donations. The campaign needs to secure an estimated $35 million to unlock the Annenberg Challenge Grant and break ground in November.

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