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Wildlife Corridors ? the Path to an Empty Nest

Question: What do Wildlife Corridors and College Applications have in common?
Answer: They both provide for dispersion of juvenile animals. In other words, they both create an "empty nest".

This is the time of year when high school seniors are finishing their college applications. This is also the time when their parents become aware of the impending "empty nest syndrome". But for large predators such as female mountain lions, there is no "empty nest syndrome". Juvenile offspring are no longer considered family members – they have become potential competitors for food and other resources. So when they are 15-22 months-old, the juveniles must disperse find new territory, where they can continue to grow and thrive.

When open spaces are fragmented because of urban development, the connections between them – the wildlife corridors – become even more essential. In our valley, Towsley Canyon functions as part of the wildlife corridor between the Santa Susana and San Gabriel mountains.

But these corridors need to be of sufficient size to provide cover, food, water and minimize disturbances from human noise and lights. That’s one reason why the proposed Lyon’s Ranch Canyon development, adjacent to Towsley Canyon, needs to be modified. It needs to be reduced in size and limited to areas close to The Old Road, so that the wildlife corridor remains healthy and viable.

Wildlife corridors, like college applications, serve a valuable purpose. Those of you who are parents of college-age children know exactly what I mean. After all, there are things worse than an "empty nest", such as a teenager with an attitude, moping around the house while consuming vast quantities of leftovers.

Wendy Langhans

To learn more about mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, visit

Our next hike will be at East/Rice Canyon on Saturday, December 23 from 9 – 11 AM.  Join us at the entrance to the park as we learn more about "Native American use of Plants". Bring a jacket, water and wear close-toed shoes. East/Rice Canyon is on The Old Road, 1 – 1/2 mile south of the Calgrove exit off the 5. We hike when it’s drizzling but heavy rain cancels.

You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
For our complete hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to
To see what’s playing on radio station KHTS, go to tune in to AM 1220.

Wildlife Corridors ? the Path to an Empty Nest

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