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Meet P-99, LA's New Mountain Lion

A mountain lion looks intensely at the camera with soulful grey-green eyes.
Mountain Lion P-99, discovered and fitted for a collar in September 2021.
(Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area)
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A new female mountain lion was found in the western parts of the Santa Monica Mountains.

As the 99th lion to be studied by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, she has been named P-99.

She is estimated to be two to three years old and she weighed 75 pounds when she was captured, on Sept. 8.

Per a tweet from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, she was found in the Western portion of the Santa Monica Mountains. After she was captured, she was anesthetized for a short period while researchers fitted her with a GPS radio tracking collar and performed an analysis on her.

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The analysis included collecting biological samples, taking morphological measurements, attaching an ear tag and conducting a physical exam. P-99 is one of 13 pumas being tracked in the region.

These big cats are beautiful but they face a host of challenges. Freeways and increasing development have prevented many local mountain lions from moving to new territories and limited their mating options. Sometimes, they get sick from consuming pesticides or eating smaller animals that have consumed pesticides. In other cases, they get hit by cars while trying to cross busy freeways.

Given these obstacles, mountain lions could vanish completely from Santa Monica Mountains in the next 50 years.

Plans are in place to start building a wildlife crossing over the 101 in 2022. This would allow mountain lions (and other animals) to safely traverse the freeway and move to other mountain ranges. When it's done, it will be the world's largest wildlife bridge.

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