See the photos of a mountain lion’s all-female litter of kittens born in the wilderness near Los Angeles
One of the few adult mountain lions in California’s Santa Monica Mountains has given birth to a litter of all-female kittens. And on Thursday, the National Parks Service unveiled photos of the adorable litter for the first time.
The kittens, which have been named P-113, P-114 and P-115, were discovered in a “dense patch of poison oak nestled among large boulders” in the Santa Monica-adjacent Simi Hills on May 18, officials said. At that time, biologists believed them to be 24 days old.
Officials also say it’s likely that the mountain lions are being raised by a single mom. Their mother, P-77, is about 5 or 6 years old and has been observed by the NPS since November 2019, but there aren’t any male mountain lions being tracked in the area right now. The last two adult males who were regularly tracked in that area were P-65, who died in a wildfire, and P-38, who was poached, officials said, making the father of this litter a mystery.
“The father of this new litter is presently unknown,” the NPS said in a press release. “NPS biologists are not currently following an adult male in the area between the 101 and 118 freeways, so they suspect the father of this litter likely came from the Santa Susana Mountains and then went back.”
“The only population with lower levels was in south Florida in the mid-90’s when Florida panthers were on their way to extinction,” the NPS says.
It’s estimated that there are just 10 to 15 adult and subadult mountain lions, not including kittens, in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Jeff Sikich, a biologist with the service, said it will be “interesting” to see how P-77’s newest daughters develop and disperse.
“It’s encouraging to see reproduction in our small population of mountain lions, especially after all the mortalities we have documented in the last year,” he said.
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