Two cute mountain lion kittens were discovered in Santa Monica Mountains in December by biologists from the National Park Service. They were found while the biologists were actually trying to track their mother using GPS coordinates.
The mountain lion kittens were discovered in December. Their mother had been studied ever since she was a kitten. The researchers estimate that her cubs were born at the end of December. They are a female and a male and were found in a well-hidden den, tucked away.
Since they were discovered the cubs were also tagged with GPS trackers. The female received the handle P-45 and the male received the p-47 handle. What helped the scientist find the mountain lion kittens was the GPS tracker of their mother (P-19). It became suspicious that for three weeks the tracker was localized. It is because the mother was staying in the den with her cubs and this is what gave her away.
A spokeswoman for the National Park Service, Kate Kuykendall, explained that the Santa Monica Mountains are a good habitat for wildlife, even though the kittens were born in a quite congested area. She further continued saying that many people are amazed to see that there is space for carnivores of this size just outside the second largest city in the country. The birth of the two cubs is great news for the population of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, Kuykendall concluded.
Researchers are also trying to find out who the father of the kittens is. Because P-19 has been tracked ever since she was just a couple of weeks old the biologists know that she has had litters in the past. The father was P-12, but it is not certain that he was the father this time as well because she has not been since Marc last year. The researchers hope that DNA testing will help them rule him in or out. Another male which could potentially be the father is P-45, who is new on the scene.
Officials say that interbreeding is a serious problem for the mountain lions in Santa Monica especially since it affected by human impact such as for example the 101 freeway. Biologist Jeff Sikich from Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area remarked:
We continue to see successful reproduction, which indicates that the quality of the natural habitat is high for such a relatively urbanized area.”
Image Source: latimes.com