A mountain lion was struck by a vehicle and killed on Highway 126 on Thursday night, according to Officer Ryan Ayala with the California Highway Patrol.
Ayala said the collision was first reported to the CHP just after 10 p.m. near the intersection of La Falda Way and Highway 126 — just over 3 miles east of Piru.
A driver involved in the collision has not been identified, as the call came in from witnesses who moved the carcass to the right shoulder upon discovery.
Caltrans initially recovered the carcass but, upon hearing this, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was interested in collecting DNA samples for analysis.
“We like to learn about it, but we don’t always necessarily respond,” said Tim Daly, spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Department
Daly elaborated by saying that sometimes law enforcement or Caltrans will recover or dispose of the carcass without alerting them. It appears this was the case with the feline killed on Highway 126.
However, Fish and Wildlife did find out about it on Friday morning and the department was able to take DNA samples as part of its research to find out more about which species live in different parts of the state.
The department formally established the mountain lion conservation program in 2015 to coordinate statewide mountain lion research and population monitoring, conflict mitigation, and to inform habitat conservation and protection.
The mountain lion found on Thursday night did not appear to have a tracking collar, according to witnesses at the scene.