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Controversial housing development to be built on possible Mountain Lion habitat

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    LOS ANGELES (KCAL/KCBS) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors was sent a letter Tuesday warning of a possible mountain lion dwelling where the controversial Northlake housing development is expected to be built.

The letter, sent by the Center for Biological Diversity, included cougar photos captured last month by a wildlife camera operating by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, which is using a grant by the Wildlife Conservation Board to enhance habitat in the area.

The mountain lion photographed in the wild will have its habitat blocked by the new construction, the Center for Biological Diversity said.

“This holiday season we’re asking county officials to reconsider their plans to block this vital corridor and give mountain lions the gift of freedom to roam,” said J.P. Rose, an attorney at the center. “For decades politicians have let our beloved local mountain lions suffer death by a thousand cuts from habitat fragmentation and development. It’s time for county supervisors to put a stop to the tragic loss of these wild cats.”

The Northlake development would bury more than 3.5 miles of Grasshopper Creek, a stream that feeds into Southern California’s last free-flowing river, the Santa Clara.

The site is also a designated “very high fire hazard” severity zone, and multiple wildfires have burned the proposed project footprint over the past few years.

The center and allies are challenging the development in court, where county attorneys have asked the court to exclude the photos of the mountain lion using the crossing.

Supervisors Janice Hahn, Kathryn Barger, and Hilda Solis voted in favor of the development last year, while Supervisor Sheila Kuehl opposed it.

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