The national park says three mountain lion kittens were born in the Santa Monica Mountains, California.
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Biologists believed that the two male kittens and one female were the first litter of the three-year-old mother P-54 and that the presumed father P-63 could be the first father to possibly bring genetic diversity in the Santa Monica Mountains.
“The last P-19 litter with kittens was marked in the summer of 2018,” said Effef Sikic, a biologist who has been studying mountain lions for National Recreation in the Santa Monica Mountains.
After sampling genetic testing, Park Service biologists determined that all three mountain lion kittens were healthy and were estimated that they are only 19 days old.
The kitten’s father was originally captured in 2018 along with his mother P-62 north of Highway 101 in Simi Hills. Since then, he has crossed the highway three times and stayed in the Santa Monica Mountains. While the mother of the kittens was born in 2017 and was marked with a tracking device.
The born kittens marked the 17th litter on the site during a long-term study to determine how mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains survive in an increasingly fragmented and urbanized environment.
In a unanimous decision in April, the California Fish and Game Commission approached the protection of six fighting mountain lions, including those in the Santa Monica and the Santa Ana Mountains, under the state’s endangered species law.
Supporters have called for “endangered species protection” designed to protect certain species of lions that are at risk of extinction soon.
Researchers at the National Parks Service, UC Davis, and UCLA, warn that if enough invasions occur, the population of Santa Ana could disappear within 12 years and the population of Santa Monica within 15 years.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended the move shortly after P-56, a male mountain lion in Santa Monica, was killed in January by a landowner.