Science News

As Southern California cougars near ‘extinction vortex,’ a radical rescue plan emerges

Cougars in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains are poised to enter an "extinction vortex" and could disappear from those areas in the next 50 years, new research says. Here, an adult mountain lion leads three youths along a truck trail in the Santa Anas in 2014. (Irvine Ranch Conservancy)

Los Angeles Times

New research suggests there’s an almost one-in-four chance that cougars in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains could become extinct within 50 years. In the face of such a dire prognosis — what biologists call an extinction vortex — conservationists are considering a desperate and controversial remedy: capturing pumas in one part of the Santa Ana and trucking them across the 15 Freeway so that they can breed with isolated mates on the other side of traffic.