Following the death of P-22 – the beloved Los Angeles mountain lion whose journey across two of the busiest freeways in the USA inspired a movement to build a wildlife crossing over Highway 101 – his supporters gathered at the Greek Theatre to celebrate his life and legacy. At the P-22 Celebration of Life event on Saturday, February 4th, the National Wildlife Federation’s #SaveLACougars campaign and an expert set of committed partners celebrated the launch of The Wildlife Crossing Fund

What is the Wildlife Crossing Fund? What does it aim to do?

As stated by the National Wildlife Federation, “this campaign aims to accelerate the building of wildlife crossings across California, the United States, and the world and reconnect lands for our collective future” with a purpose of advancing the building of these critical infrastructure projects.  Led by Beth Pratt, the Fund will raise US$500M – an astonishing half a billion dollars from philanthropy to leverage further investments from public dollars, thus launching an extraordinary private public partnership.

In addition to the National Wildlife Federation, founding partners behind the movement include the Annenberg Foundation, who issued a $10 million challenge grant as the first contribution to the Fund, California Natural Resources Agency, and Dayna Bochco, as well as our longtime partners at ARC (Animal Road Crossing) Solutions!

The Wildlife Crossing Fund, COP15 and the Agreement on the 30x30 Target:

In December, 2022, EDL director Nina-Marie Lister spoke at the 7th Biodiversity Summit COP15, in support of the State of California alongside our partners at ARC Solutions, in attendance with many other Subnational Governments and cities, that have made nature positive commitments and have demonstrated tangible action for biodiversity! 

At COP15, more than 190 countries adopted an agreement to protect 30% of the world’s lands and waters by 2030. The so-called 30×30 agreement outlines commitments, along with funding, for all 23 targets of the ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ or CBD — now called the ‘Global Biodiversity Framework. Finalized during the early hours of December 19th, the GBF commits nations to protecting biodiversity by halting loss and recovering species. Click HERE for more on COP15 and the global agreement reached to protect nature. 

California further deepened its commitment to wildlife crossings and corridors as one of their critical biodiversity strategies under 30×30. At COP15, members of California’s delegation shared how this project, and investments in additional wildlife crossings, can not only protect and help the recovery of biodiversity, but also help to prevent species extinctions. The new Wildlife Crossing fund develops a critical strategic and financial path to delivering more wildlife crossings across the state as part of California’s 30×30 implementation plan. 

The EDL, in support of the State of California, and as a partner of ARC Solutions, are part of the technical advisory team to the National Wildlife Federation on the visionary Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in Los Angeles – the world’s largest – aimed at reconnecting an integral wildlife corridor in the California’s Santa Monica Mountains. This wildlife crossing infrastructure is crucial in providing safe passage for the near-extinct local population of mountain lions and many other wildlife species across the 101 Highway. The new Wildlife Crossing fund will help ensure the success of the Wallis Annenberg crossing beyond a single project, towards an integrated system of landscape connectivity – to be  replicated globally for the protection of both people and wildlife alike.

The announcement of the Wildlife Crossing Fund solidifies California’s commitment in combating the biodiversity and climate crises by reconnecting fragmented ecosystems and championing environmental recovery. It provides a real and practical solution to give wildlife the ability to traverse the built environment safely and to ensure people and nature thrive together. 

Click HERE for access to the full press release on the new Wildlife Crossing Fund!

Watch the Livestream:

P-22 Celebration of Life event, Saturday, February 4, 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM PST.