Two new litters of mountain lion kittens found, and boy are they cute
Two litters of fluffy, blue-eyed mountain lion kittens born to two different mothers, but with the same father, were recently discovered in the eastern Santa Susana Mountains, officials said.
Researchers from the National Park Service found five small, adorably furry kittens last month in the large mountain range, which connects mountain lion populations in the Santa Monica Mountains and Los Padres National Forest.
Mountain lions in the area appear to be reproducing successfully despite a variety of natural and man-made challenges, including busy freeway traffic.
“The real challenge comes as these kittens grow older and disperse, especially the males, and have to deal with threats from other mountain lions and also road mortality and the possibility of poisoning from anticoagulant rodenticide,” said Jeff Sikich, a biologist with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
National Park Service researchers discovered two litters of mountain lion kittens in the eastern Santa Susana Mountains in June. Five kittens, three females and two males, were ear-tagged and returned to their dens earlier this month.
Using GPS locations transmitted by their mothers’ collars, researchers found the three blonde and black-striped female kittens and two male kittens living in separate dens. Their living spaces are usually located in hidden crevices and thick brush for protection.
The first litter of kittens – two females dubbed P-48 and P-49 – were tagged on June 8, and were delivered by a 6-year-old female mountain lion known as P-35.
Researchers have tracked the kittens’ mother since April 2014. She had previously given birth to another kitten, but it did not survive to adulthood.
The second litter was discovered in a cave-like den on June 22. The kittens – a female known as P-51 and two males known as P-50 and P-52 – were living beneath large boulders.
Their mother is P-39, a 5-year-old mountain lion that researchers have tracked since April 2015.
The father of both litters is believed to be a male mountain lion named P-38.
Researchers determined this by tracking his location via GPS. Data showed that he spent days with the kittens’ mothers months before they were born.
Genetic testing will be done to determine the true identity of the kittens’ father.
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