Officials find litter of mountain lion kittens near Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — Officials say a mountain lion in the Simi Hills area near Los Angeles recently gave birth to three kittens.

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In a news release from the National Park Service, biologists learned that mountain lion P-77 recently had given birth to three girl kittens by the Santa Monica and Santa Susana Mountain ranges.

P-77, the kittens’ mother, is believed to be about 5 years old and has been tracked since November 2019, according to The Associated Press.

The newborn kittens have been named P-113, P-114, and P-115, the National Park Service said.

It is believed to be the third mountain lion litter in the Simi Hills area over the last few years, the AP reported. P-62 had a litter in 2018 and P-67 had a litter in 2020.

The kittens were believed to be about 24 days old when they were found by the park service biologists, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Biologists have been tracking the mountain lions through a 20-year study in California, the newspaper reported.

“It will be interesting to learn how these kittens will use the landscape once they get older and disperse, particularly if they decide to stay in the Simi Hills or cross freeways to enter larger natural areas,” said Jeff Sikich, the lead field biologist of the NPS mountain lion study, in the news release. “It’s encouraging to see reproduction in our small population of mountain lions, especially after all the mortalities we have documented in the last year.”

Since March 2022, about 15 mountain lions involved in the study have died. Most of them were killed in car strikes, mange, and one was shot, Sikich told the Times. The most famous one, P-22 died in December after it was hit by a car and then euthanized following health issues as well as injuries.

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