SANTA MONICA—On May 18, biologists found three baby mountain lions in the Simi Hills of the Santa Monica Mountain range. According to the National Park Service (NPS), the pups are believed to be the offspring of a 5-6-year-old female mountain lion they are tracking named, P-77. She was captured recently in a remote area and recently had a litter.
The father of the kittens is not on the NPS radar. Researchers have indicated that he probably came over from a nearby mountain range during mating season.
“The NPS has been studying how mountain lions survive in increasingly fragmented and urbanized landscapes since 2002. Since then, researchers have monitored more than 100 mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains north of Los Angeles,” states the National Park Service website.
The names of the new kits will be: P-113, P-114, and P-115. They too will be captured by NPS to fit with tracking devices.
Regarding the mortality of mountain lions, the NPS reported that as of December 2021, 28 out of 29 mountain lions have tested positive for an anticoagulant rodenticide (rat poison).
It may not be direct poisoning, but secondhand poisoning to kill other rodents. They eat a diet of ground squirrels and other rodents that got poisoned and the mountain lions consume them.
The other cause of death noted by NPS has been from traffic. Despite the wildlife bridges created to protect the mountain lions, the NPS reported that as of 2022, 32 mountain lions (collared and uncollared) have been hit by cars on major roadways.
P-22 was the most famous mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains. He roamed Griffith Park and was the first to grace the front page of a newspaper. He was 12 years old at the time of his death. He was captured after attacking a family dog being walked on a leash. Researchers were concerned about his health due to a noted change in behavior.
According to NPS, when the puma was examined, it was discovered that he had multiple injuries, some to the head, indicating that he may have been hit by a car. P-22 was euthanized. Four local tribes gave P-22, their beloved puma, a proper burial.
The only known mountain lion who lived longer than P-22 was P-1, the father of P-22, who lived 15 years. The birth of P-113, P-114, and P-115 helps the endangered puma population in the Santa Monica Mountains.