Featured Image

Why Didn’t This Mountain Lion Cross the Road? Because It Had an Underpass.

For the first time since a wildlife underpass was finished in Santa Cruz County, California, wildlife cameras captured video footage of a puma crossing safely beneath Highway 17.

According to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, while many pumas have been caught on camera in the surrounding area, this recent video is the first documented use of the wildlife underpass by a mountain lion. This is momentous, because the tunnel was constructed in large part to protect these big cats, which are known by several monikers, including pumas, cougars, and mountain lions.

NBC News reported that the Laurel Curve Wildlife Crossing Project, which began in spring 2022 and wrapped up early in 2023, cost around $12 million. The goal, according to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, was to connect lands on both sides of Highway 17 within the Santa Cruz Mountain Range. In doing so, the underpass has already helped to protect both wildlife and humans.

NBC reported that over the past 10 years, more than 20 pumas and 95 deer have been struck and killed near Laurel Curve on Highway 17. After the underpass opened—in fact, within an hour of wildlife cameras being installed in the tunnel—a bobcat was recorded passing through.

Besides bobcats and the recently spotted puma, the Land Trust says cameras have also captured footage of deer, gray foxes, and skunks using the tunnel to safely cross beneath the highway.

A wildlife survey spanning nearly a decade preceded the opening of the Laurel Curve underpass, which helped officials determine the best placement for the tunnel. An organization called Pathways for Wildlife provided key data from trail cameras about the wildlife in the area, as well as the animals’ movement patterns.

This first puma crossing adds to the underpass’s victory as a key wildlife corridor in the area, protecting both motorists and animals—and preserving their ability to co-exist.

Featured Image

Viral Video Shows Massive Monitor Lizard ‘Shopping’ in Thailand

Featured Image

Snake Steak, Anyone? Researchers Say We Should Eat Pythons

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top