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A mountain lion was found dead Wednesday on the 101 Freeway in Calabasas.

“It’s always unfortunate when this happens, but CHP located a mountain lion that appeared to have been struck and killed by a vehicle along the U.S.-101 Freeway in Calabasas this morning,” the California Highway Patrol’s West Valley Area office posted on Twitter, with a photo of the dead animal near the center divider of the freeway.

The Santa Monica Mountains posted on its Twitter page that the mountain lion’s death was “unfortunate.”

“We don’t know if this lion is one of our study animals. We will pick up its carcass on Friday. It will then undergo a full necropsy,” the Santa Monica Mountains said on its  Twitter page.

Note: The image may be disturbing to some, and can be seen here.

J.P. Rose with the Center for Biological Diversity said the latest “unnecessary” death “underscores the need for wildlife crossings and better land-use planning.”

“While state wildlife officials have taken steps to temporarily protect these cats under the state’s Endangered Species Act, L.A. County continues to approve damaging sprawl projects that will block remaining wildlife corridors. California’s big cats deserve better,” Rose said in a statement.

Planning and fundraising is underway for a wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway in the Liberty Canyon area of Agoura Hills that would provide a connection between the small population of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains and the larger and genetically diverse populations to the north.

In a unanimous decision in April, the California Fish and Game Commission moved a step closer to protecting six struggling mountain lion populations, including those in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains, under the state’s Endangered Species Act.

The commission’s decision cleared the way for a yearlong review on whether the six populations of mountain lions should be formally protected under the state act, with the act’s full protections applying during the yearlong candidacy period.

Supporters are seeking “threatened species protection” — which is designed to protect species that at risk of extinction in the foreseeable future  without improved management — involving the “most imperiled populations” of mountain lions in California, according to Tiffany Yap, a biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity and primary author of the petition.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife had recommended the move shortly after P-56, a male mountain lion in the critically endangered Santa Monica population, was killed in January under a state-issued depredation permit by a landowner who had lost livestock to the big cat.

The National Park Service — which has been studying mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002 — reported last month that a mountain lion that was collared last November in an urban neighborhood in Northridge and subsequently found dead in January died directly from the effects of anticoagulant rat poison.

P-76 was the sixth collared mountain lion to die of coagulopathy and the third in the last two years, and researchers have documented the presence of anticoagulant rodenticide compounds in 26 of 27 local mountain lions that have been tested, including a 3-month-old kitten, officials said then.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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