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Rachel Blakey in UCLA Newsroom: Wildfires drive L.A.’s mountain lions to take deadly risks

When the Woolsey Fire roared through the Santa Monica Mountains in the fall of 2018, it torched half of the available habitat for the area’s mountain lions — a population already hemmed in by freeways and an ocean.

Most survived the blaze, but in a study published today in Current Biology, scientists from UCLA and the National Park Service found that the animals, no longer able to utilize burned areas, engaged in risky behaviors that increased the likelihood of dangerous encounters with human-built infrastructure and rival mountain lions.

“The mountain lions we live alongside in L.A. are already taking their chances with roads and other mountain lions,” Blakey said. “The Woolsey Fire, by further limiting the space they have, really intensified those risks.”