A mountain lion dubbed P-65 and her kittens have been traced crossing the 101 Freeway in Southern California, near the site of a new wildlife crossing that broke ground last week. (National Park Service)

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By Suzanne Potter

May 3, 2022   

Animals such as the mountain lion, gray fox and California red-legged frog may now have a better shot at thriving in Southern California after a court victory left wildlife corridor protections in place.

A judge recently finalized two decisions that upheld two Ventura County ordinances regulating land use, lighting and fencing in areas considered vital to the animals’ passage.

Dennis Arguelles, Los Angeles program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the ordinances are the first of their kind in the state.

“We think that what they proposed were just common-sense, very minimally intrusive measures, to make sure that we maintain that habitat connectivity,” Arguelles asserted.

The plaintiffs in the suit against the ordinances included the Ventura County Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (CoLAB) and a trade group for the construction industry called CalCIMA.

They issued a statement vowing to explore “other potential strategies and options to help Ventura County landowners whose property rights are impacted.”

Arguelles noted in January, a UCLA study found genetic defects in Southern California mountain lions attributed to inbreeding when animal populations are hemmed in by development.

“Species such as mountain lions are in danger of becoming extinct in our local landscapes, because of the lack of genetic diversity,” Arguelles pointed out. “That’s caused by their inability to move throughout the region and find mates and places to feed.”

Four conservation groups joined the suit on behalf of the County of Ventura. They include the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Los Padres ForestWatch, and the National Parks Conservation Association.


Ruling Superior Court of the State of Calif. Ventura Cty. 02/04/2022
Ruling Superior Court of the State of Calif. Ventura Cty. 02/04/2022
Ordinance Ventura Cty. 03/12/2019
Mountain lion study UCLA 01/06/2022