Need A Moment To De-Stress? Meet LA’s Newest Mountain Lion Kittens
If you, like us, could use a moment to de-stress, these photos of cranky mountain lion kittens should help.
The three kittens — two males and a female — were recently discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains. Biologists from the National Park Service located, examined and tagged the cats, NPS spokesperson Ana Beatriz Cholo said in a press release.
The trio, now dubbed P-82, P-83 and P-84, all appeared healthy, she said.
The kittens' mother is P-54, a 3-year-old cougar that biologists have been tracking since early 2017. Researchers believe this is her first litter.
The father is believed to be P-63, based on location data from his and P-54's radio collars, which put them together several months back.
Biologists are hopeful that the new kittens represent a positive step for genetic diversity in the local mountain lion population. P-63 came into the area from the Simi Hills, north of the 101 Freeway. Rsearchers took genetic samples from the newborn kittens for testing, Cholo said.
Wildlife researchers have warned about puma inbreeding within the Santa Monica Mountains, where the big cats are hemmed in by our freeways and isolated from other territories and mountain ranges. That leads the mountain lions to mate with their close relatives, which puts the population in jeopardy.
Researchers say the lions of the Santa Monica Mountains could disappear within 50 years. Back in April, Southern California’s mountain lions were placed on the state’s endangered species list, although on a temporary basis. A permanent listing could go into effect in 2022.
So stay healthy, little lions. We’re all rooting for you!