4-week-old mountain lion cub newest addition in Santa Monica Mountains

P-54, a four-week-old female mountain lion cub, is shown in a photo provided by the National Park Service. (National Park Service)

A four-week-old female mountain lion kitten has been discovered and marked in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Researchers with the National Park Service and biologists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife found the young animal at a den site. Her mother is the popular P-23 mountain lion and researchers suspect her father may be P-23's half-brother, P-30.

The two animals were documented traveling together for three days, and three months later P-23 gave birth. Genetic testing will be done to determine if P-30 is the kitten's father, which would make him a first-time dad.

"The good news is that local mountain lions continue to reproduce successfully," said Jeff Sikich, biologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. "Unfortunately, these animals are stuck on an island of habitat, with very little movement in and out of the Santa Monica Mountains, which has led to multiple cases of inbreeding."

This is the third litter of kittens for P-23, but in two of those cases, her babies were preyed upon by other animals. One kitten survived and was tagged. It is now known as P-53 and received a GPS collar last July.

P-23 gained fame in 2013 when she was seen eating a deer near a bicyclist on Mulholland Highway.

This is the twelfth litter of kittens marked by biologists at a den site. Two additional litters were found when the kittens were only six months old.
Related Topics:
petsanimal newsmountain lion sightingbaby animalscute animalsnational park serviceresearchThousand OaksVentura CountyLos Angeles County
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