See the photos of a mountain lion’s all-female litter of kittens born in the wilderness near Los Angeles
One of the few mature mountain lions in California’s Santa Monica Mountains has given birth to an all-female litter of kittens. And on Thursday, the National Parks Service unveiled photos of the adorable litter for the first time.
The kittens, named P-113, P-114 and P-115, were discovered on May 18 in a “thick patch of poison oak between large boulders” in Simi Hills, adjacent to Santa Monica, officials said. said. At that time, biologists believed their age to be 24 days.
Officials also say the mountain lions are likely to have been raised by a single mother. Their mother, P-77, is about 5 or 6 years old and has been monitored by the NPS since November 2019, but no male mountain lions are currently in the area. The last two adult males regularly tracked in the area were P-65, who died in a forest fire, and P-38, who were poached, officials said. The father was made an enigma.
“The father of this new litter is currently unknown,” NPS said in a press release. “NPS biologists are currently not tracking any adult males in the area between the 101 and 118 freeways. So they suspect that the father of this litter may have come from the Santa Susana Mountains and then moved back.”
“The only population with low levels was in South Florida in the mid-90s when Florida panthers were on the verge of extinction,” the NPS says.
It is estimated that there are only 10 to 15 adult and subadult mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, not including kittens.
Jeff Skitch, a biologist with the service, said it will be “interesting” to see how the P-77’s new daughters develop and disperse.
“It’s encouraging to see reproduction in our small population of mountain lions, especially after all the deaths we’ve documented in the past year,” he said.
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