Griffith Park's resident mountain lion, P-22, might have more room to roam after the Los Angeles City Council votes on a piece of legislation that would incorporate wildlife into hillside communities Friday, just in time for Earth Day.
The motion proposes designating the eastern area of the Santa Monica Mountains as a "Regional Wildlife Habitat Linkage Zone" that requires building permits to meet various criteria, including installing green space that allows animals to pass through, city officials said.
"Are we talking about 'No development?' Of course not," said Joe Edmiston, executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. "We're saying, 'Move over for nature.'"
Under the ordinance, new building projects would undergo a "habitat connectivity and wildlife permeability review."
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Developments in the Santa Monica Mountains, from Coldwater Canyon to Beverly Glen to Mulholland Drive, have chipped away at wildlife roaming territory for decades. That's why wildlife in Los Angeles is forced into residential areas where they are feared, said Alison Simard of the Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife.
Last year, P-22 was found holed up under a Los Feliz house, and P-23, a 2-year-old mountain lion, was struck and killed on the 5 Freeway. At least a dozen others over the past decade have been killed by oncoming traffic while crossing the Los Angeles' freeways.
California bulldozed over 784 square miles of natural land between 2001 and 2011, according to the Center for American Progress, more than any other state on the West Coast.
"We've been incrementally giving away the space that are the lungs of our city," said Simard. "Progress isn't progress when we're destroying the very environments that keep us safe."