Four new mountain lion kittens to be challenged by L.A. freeways

Four new mountain lion kittens to be challenged by L.A. freeways

Outdoors

Four new mountain lion kittens to be challenged by L.A. freeways

Photo: National Park Service

A mountain lion known as P-62 has given birth to four kittens—all female—in the Simi Hills located between the larger Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountain ranges just northwest of Los Angeles, the National Park Service announced Tuesday morning.

The discovery was made on the 2,668-acre site of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a former rocket engine testing facility that remains a source of environmental hazards, according to LA Observed.

It is the first kitten den documented in the Simi Hills, situated between the 101 and 118 freeways, which the young mountain lions will almost certainly have to navigate one day.

Photo: National Park Service

“This is the first litter we have marked at the den in the Simi Hills, which happens to be a critical habitat linkage between the Santa Monica Mountains and larger natural areas to the north,” Jeff Sikich, biologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a news release.

“We are very interested to learn about how they will navigate the fragmented landscape and whether they will remain in the Simi Hills or eventually cross one or more freeways to the north or south.”

All eight mountain lions biologists have tracked in the Simi Hills have crossed either the 101 or 118 or both, except for P-62.

Photo: National Park Service

Biologists have been tracking P-62 since January. Her localized movements from her GPS collar indicated she might be denning.

Biologists visited the den site on June 11 when P-62 was away. They took tissue samples, conducted a health check and marked the kittens with ear tags—they will be known as P-66, P-67, P-68 and P-69.

Photo: National Park Service

More from the National Park Service:

The National Park Service, along with many other local partners, has been working for decades to preserve and increase connectivity for wildlife between the Santa Monica Mountains and other larger natural areas to the north. As the Simi Hills are immediately north of the 101 Freeway, any animals moving north-south into or out of the Santa Monicas must pass through this area…

This is the fifteenth litter of kittens marked by National Park Service biologists at a den site. Three additional litters of kittens were discovered and marked when the kittens were already at least six months old.

The National Park Service has been studying mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002 to determine how they survive in an increasingly fragmented and urbanized environment.

Photos of the four new mountain lion kittens courtesy of the National Park Service.

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