Two new mountain lions were found in the hills near Los Angeles.
Two new mountain lion kittens were recently found in a den in the Santa Monica hills. The cubs were tagged and named P-46 and P-47. They are part of a mountain lion tracking study interested in the mountain lion population of a densely-populated area.
“We continue to see successful reproduction, which indicates that the quality of the natural habitat is high for such a relatively urbanized area,” said Jeff Sikich, a biologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
The kittens were born to the female mountain lion P-19, that has been tracked since 2010. Her new kittens seem spritely enough as they try to protect themselves from the invading camera.
P-19, the mother mountain lion, has had nine litters, some of which were born out of incest. Inbreeding is dangerous for any species as it inhibits genetic diversity.
“Our mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains … have the lowest genetic diversity ever recorded of any mountain lion population besides the Florida panther that went nearly extinct,” Sikich said.
The Santa Monica hills are essentially “trapped” due to freeways, forcing the mountain lions to thrive in a small area. A proposed wildlife bridge over the 101 Freeway will connect the nearby Sierra Madre mountain range with the Santa Monica range, which will hopefully allow more mountain lions to wander through the territory.
The father of the new cubs P-46 and P-47 is unknown but officials are hoping it is a newly discovered male in the area that is not related to P-19.