SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — A 3-year-old mountain lion that lives in the Santa Monica Mountains recently gave birth to two boys and a girl.
The radio-collared mountain lions, distinguished by tagging to help officials monitor animal movement for research, don’t have names as we’re used to seeing with our own pets.
To the National Park Service, the mother mountain lion goes by P-54 and the presumed father is P-63. Both cats were captured north of the 101 Freeway in the Simi Hills.
Biologists believe they were first-time parents to the three kittens.
Over the past four months, GPS tracking showed that the new mom was repeatedly found in the same location as the only male adult male radio-collared mountain lion living in the Santa Monica Mountains over two days, which typically means they are mating.
About two months after, researchers noticed movements that indicated that the female mountain lion was either feeding at a kill site or giving birth. The latter turned out to be the case.
All three kittens, now named P-82, P-83 and P-84, all appeared healthy. Their ears were tagged for future identification and samples were taken for genetic testing.
Biologists say the presumed father may have brought much-needed genetic diversity to the Santa Monica Mountains.
Researchers have expressed concern about how inbreeding could put mountain lion populations in danger, saying in a 2016 finding that if nothing changes, the cats in the Santa Monica Mountains could disappear within 50 years.
The National Park Service has been studying mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002.