Mountain lion was pregnant with 4 kittens when she was killed by car in Calabasas, biologists say

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Thursday, September 8, 2022
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File footage from 2018 shows the mountain lion known as P-54.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A tracked mountain lion that was struck and killed by a car in Calabasas this summer was pregnant with four kittens, wildlife officials disclosed this week.

The lion, known as P-54, was also found to have multiple toxic compounds from rat poisons in her body, as did her four unborn kittens.

"Unfortunately, we've learned that mountain lions are susceptible to rat poisons even before they are born," said Jeff Sikich, a biologist on the mountain lion project at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

"In this case, it is also unfortunate because the death of P-54 from a vehicle resulted in the loss of four other young mountain lions, two males and two females, that were about to enter the population."

P-54 had been tracked by wildlife biologists almost since she was born. She was discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains at four weeks old in early 2017.

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

Biologists started to track mountain lion P-54 in 2017 when she was a four-week-old kitten.
NPS

As an adult she had previously given birth, to several kittens in 2020.

P-54 died on June 17 of this year when she was struck by a car on Las Virgenes Road. Her mother had been struck and killed by a vehicle in the same area four years earlier.

Mountain lion P-54 hit and killed by vehicle in Santa Monica Mountains

Biologists are disturbed, but not surprised, by the discovery of five different toxic substances - described as anticoagulant rodenticide compounds - in the body of P-54 and her kittens, predominantly in her liver and abdominal fat tissue.

They say it confirms what they have learned about the mountain lion population in the region - that their biggest threats are toxic compounds and vehicles.