Two newborn mountain lions were discovered by animal experts from the National Park Service (NPS) in a den, located in the western portion of Santa Monica mountains. The two kittens — one male and one female, have been designated as P-46 and P-47.
A video of made of the two kittens when the mother left the den, and another video was captured upon return of the mother. The kittens seemed to enjoy the attention of the camera, and snuggled close to the mother, upon her return. The mother was designated as P-45, and she had given birth to them a few weeks ago. Biologists implanted the kittens with electronic trackers, to monitor them in the wild.
“We continue to see successful reproduction, which indicates that the quality of the natural habitat is high for a relatively urbanized area,” said Jeff Sikich, a biologist from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
However, these kittens will have to face several challenges such as evading mountain lions, crossing freeways and exposure to rat poison. The area is also not hospitable, and the low concentration of mountain lions could lead to inbreeding. Experts hope to change the pattern and facilitate cross breeding. The mountain lions would have better access to members of other species by clearing paths and brush.
The NPS has mentioned that a female mountain lion with the designation P-19 could most likely be the mother of the two kittens. P-19 has been monitored since 2010, and she gave birth to two kittens, sired by her own father. A DNA testing of P-46 and P-47 would reveal if they were also sired by P-19’s father or of another male adult lion, P-45. Since 2002, the NPS has been extensively studying the ability of the animals to survive in an urbanized and fragmented habitat.