THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) – A young bobcat who survived the Woolsey Fire recently gave birth to a litter of four kittens in Westlake Village.
The bobcat, known as B-362, gave birth to three females and a male in thick vegetation in the large backyard of a home, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area reported Friday.
B-362 was captured by biologists on Nov. 7 in the Hillcrest Open Space Preserve of Thousand Oaks, west of Westlake Boulevard. She was caught just one day before the Woolsey Fire broke out and then scorched that same area. She was radio-collared and released back into the wild.
“This cat first had to deal with her habitat getting completely burned in the fire and then finding a new home in an unburned area,” Biologist Joanne Moriarty said in a news release. “She chose a den in thick brush where she could keep her kittens safe.”
While she was away from her den this week, biologists were able to go in and conduct health checks on the kittens. They were also ear tagged in order to identify them later on.
The kittens will remain with their mother until they’re about nine to 11 months old, NPS says, at which point they will slowly become independent.
Federal biologists capture and tag or radio-collar bobcats between October and February in order to keep tabs on their population, health and movements.
The 97,000-acre Woolsey Fire broke out south of Simi Valley on Nov. 8. It then jumped the south side of the 101 Freeway near Calabasas and spread into Malibu. The fire destroyed more than 1,500 structures and was responsible for three deaths. It was not fully contained until Nov. 21.
It also scorched at least 83 percent of all National Parks Service land in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Due to issues such as habitat loss and isolation caused by the region’s growing freeway network, mountain lions and bobcats in the Southland are facing growing challenges to their survival. A study last month determined that mountain lions in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains could go extinct within the next 50 years.