National Park Service biologist Jeff Sikich uses radio telemetry to listen for any nearby mountain lions. On previous days, he said, a male and a female with two kittens have been spotted in the area in front of him.

LOS ANGELES — Conservationists have long warned that Southern California mountain lions could vanish within decades due to inbreeding and loss of habitat. Now, biologists have identified another threat that could hasten their demise — extreme wildfires.

In a paper published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, UCLA researchers found that the 2018 Woolsey fire had greatly increased the odds of a mountain lion being struck fatally by a motorist or killed by a fellow panther in a territorial dispute.

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