4 Mountain Lion Kittens Were Found Near LA — And You Aren't Ready For Them
Brace yourselves. Cuteness is coming.
Four mountain lion kittens were discovered earlier this month in hills on the outskirts of the San Fernando Valley.
Researchers with the National Park Service's Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area have dubbed them P-66, P-67, P-68 and P-69. Their mother was identified as P-62.
All four kittens are female, wildlife officials said. Please enjoy this video, where one of the kittens doesn't take too kindly to the strangers in her den.
"National Park Service biologists took tissue samples, conducted a general health check, and marked the kittens with ear tags," said NPS spokeswoman Ana Beatriz.
Biologists had been tracking P-62's since January thanks to a GPS collar. They waited until she left the area, then went in to meet her newest offspring.
The den is located in the Simi Hills on land once used by the Santa Susana Field Lab, which tested rockets and nuclear reactors for decades. The area lies between the Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountain ranges and is hemmed in by the 118 and 101 freeways -- a precarious place for local pumas.
The man-made confines have claimed the lives of several mountain lions in recent years.
"This is the first litter we have marked at the den in the Simi Hills, which happens to be a critical habitat linkage between the Santa Monica Mountains and larger natural areas to the north," Jeff Sikich, an NPS biologist said in a statement.
"We are very interested to learn about how they will navigate the fragmented landscape and whether they will remain in the Simi Hills or eventually cross one or more freeways to the north or south."
Researchers aren't sure who the kittens' father is, but there's a decent chance it'll turn into a Lannister family situation. Cut off by the deadly freeways, many young mountain lions in the region are the result of inbreeding.
The local population in the Santa Monica Mountains is in danger of dying out entirely, according to a 2016 UCLA study.
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