SANTA MONICA—A family of mountain lions have been captured in photographs near the Santa Monica Mountains.
Newly released photographs of a lioness and her cubs feasting on a deer carcass have provided both park rangers and local wildlife enthusiasts with a glimpse into the lives of these rarely-sighted felines.
The lioness, known as Puma-15, and her two kittens, P-32 and P-33, were captured on remote cameras in the Western portion of the mountain range, near the Los Angeles and Ventura County lines.
The newest photos, taken in mid-February, provide a glimpse into the social dynamic between the lioness and her cubs, one male and one female.
At 1-1.5 years of age, the Cubs are expected to break-off their dependence upon their mother, a break that the litter’s third kitten, known as P-34, has already done.
Once mature, the lions will look to claim their own territory within the crowded Santa Monica Mountain range. Inter-species killings have become common in the local mountain lion population threatening survival.
Because of the predators’ need for a vast hunting territory, some felines have even attempted to claim hunting grounds beyond the confines of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Several felines have died in attempts to cross the 405 and 101 freeways in search of new homes. The one lion that appears to have successfully made the crossing is known as P-12, genetically proven to be the father of the litter of kittens recently caught on camera.
Local wildlife enthusiasts and park rangers hope that this most recent litter can be as lucky as P-12, growing to adulthood in their own independent hunting grounds.