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Photo Credit: Steve Winter & National Geographic

Featured Article

The California Wildlife Crossing

I feel like a proud papa. My community, along with a bunch of civic, private, and local agencies, is creating the world’s largest (and one of a very few) wild animal crossings over a busy 10-lane freeway—and no tax dollars were spent!

Located a mere 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, the Conejo Valley and Agoura Hills will be home to the new crossing being constructed at Liberty Canyon. The hashtag connected with the project (#SaveLACougers) is an homage to P22, a famous cat that roamed Los Angeles and the Conejo Valley for years. Sadly, he recently fell ill and had to be euthanized, but he was a big inspiration for getting this project off the ground.

P22, also known as the "Hollywood Cougar," was a male mountain lion who gained fame in 2012 after being photographed crossing the 101 Freeway near the Cahuenga Pass. Since then, he has become a symbol of the challenges facing wildlife in the Santa Monica Mountains and the need for safe crossings to help wild animals move between fragmented habitats.

This magnificent animal had been tracked by researchers since he was a kitten, and his movements provided valuable insights into the behavior of mountain lions in urban areas. He crossed several busy roads and highways during his travels, including the 405 Freeway (the busiest in the world) and the 101 Freeway (the second busiest.)

In 2015, P22's journey across the 101 Freeway near Liberty Canyon sparked renewed interest in the need for a wildlife crossing in the area. The crossing was approved by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in 2017, and construction began in 2021.

The Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing will span 200 feet over the 101 Freeway and will feature natural vegetation and water sources to help animals feel comfortable while crossing. The crossing is expected to be completed in 2023 and is seen as a crucial step in protecting the genetic diversity of wildlife in the region.

I’m taking a video of the construction every time we drive by; it truly is like waiting for a baby to be born. Until recently, I had only read about and seen pictures of environmentally integrated architectural designs and builds like this, and just knowing that they exist has to make any animal and nature lover smile. Now watching it take shape near where I live adds to the tapestry of my life and reaffirms my faith in what we can do as human beings.

Helping these animals that we have displaced is a civic duty and one we should all take part in. Some people will always complain when a project like this gets created that there is so much need in the world right now, the money could have been better spent another way. Perhaps, but I am choosing to highlight this project because it touched my heart.

Please follow my lead and promote the projects and people that you believe need our support; spread awareness by letting your local newspaper know or posting about it on social media. The right people will find it and help you spread the word.

Barton Goldsmith, PhD, is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, an author and a blogger for with over 34 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide; contact him at

  • Photo Credit: Caltrans
  • Photo Credit: Caltrans
  • Photo Credit: National Wildlife Federation
  • Photo Credit: Miguel Ordenana
  • Photo Credit: Steve Winter & National Geographic
  • Photo Credit: Steve Winter & National Geographic