SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) – Biologists believe a 4-week-old female mountain lion recently discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains is the product of inbreeding, the National Park Service announced Tuesday.
Biologists discovered the 4-week-old mountain lion kitten in late February 2017. The NPS believes the mountain lion kitten’s mother is P-23 and her father is P-23’s half-brother, P-30.
Using GPS, biologists documented P-23 and P-30 traveling together. About 90-days later, researchers received a series of “localized GPS locations indicating P-23 had recently given birth,” the NPS reports.
Biologists are awaiting genetic testing to confirm that P-30 is the father.
The region’s freeway network has served to isolate the mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains, biologists say.
“Unfortunately, these animals are stuck on an island of habitat, with very little movement in and out of the Santa Monica Mountains, which has led to multiple cases of inbreeding,” said NPS Biologist Jeff Sikich in a news release.
The NPS has been studying mountain lion movements in the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002 using GPS collars.