KEY POINTS

  • The carcass was found along the U.S.-101 Freeway in Calabasas
  • Authorities said it might have been hit by a vehicle while trying to cross the road
  • At least 21 mountains lions reportedly died after being struck by vehicles in the area since 2002

A mountain lion was found dead on a freeway in Calabasas, California, on Wednesday. Authorities said it might have been hit by a vehicle while trying to cross the road.

The carcass of the cougar was found near the divider of the U.S.-101 Freeway, the California Highway Patrol's (CHP) West Valley area office said in a tweet.

"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 CHP said in the tweet.

The area is in the northwest of Los Angeles, near Santa Monica Mountains, which is home to a number of mountain lions that are considered endangered. 

The Santa Monica Mountains, in a tweet, said the death of the mountain lion was "unfortunate."

Ana Cholo, a spokesperson for the National Park Service, told the Associated Press that at least 21 mountain lions were killed by vehicles in the area since 2002.

She said the deaths prompted them to study the local cougar population and some animals were tagged with GPS collars as part of the process. Cholo said the carcass of the dead lion will be examined to determine whether it belonged to the national park. The carcass didn't appear to have a collar.

 "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. We'll keep you posted!" a tweet by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area read.

In June 2011, a mountain lion was killed while trying to cross a highway in Connecticut. The cougar was said to have traveled all the way from South Dakota to Connecticut, covering around 1,500 miles.

mountain-lion-1577644_640 Mountain lion Photo: Pixabay