Mountain Lion Cubs Discovered in California Mountains Bring Hope

Researchers with the National Park Service (NPS) have just discovered four little blue-eyed mountain lion kittens living in California’s Simi Hills, who have brought hope for a population that’s in serious jeopardy.

42879481201_fd5bdf5a81_zCredit: National Park Service

According to the NPS, all four of the kittens are female, who are just over four-weeks-old, have become officially known as P-66, P-67, P-68 and P-69. The agency has been tracking their mother, P-62, since January, and finally found her den site this month.

29007534818_672d14477c_zCredit: National Park Service

The discovery marks the first time mountain lion kittens have been found in this area, which is nestled between the Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountain ranges.

42831303772_22e6f29d84_zCredit: National Park Service

“This is the first litter we have marked at the den in the Simi Hills, which happens to be a critical habitat linkage between the Santa Monica Mountains and larger natural areas to the north,” said Jeff Sikich, biologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “We are very interested to learn about how they will navigate the fragmented landscape and whether they will remain in the Simi Hills or eventually cross one or more freeways to the north or south.”

42879480211_b12f532c05_zCredit: National Park Service

For mountain lions in this area, these kittens are especially good news. The population has been seriously impacted by our activities, which have put their future survival in question.

The area’s network of multi-lane freeways are an immense and very deadly barrier for these mountain lions. Sadly, since 2002, 18 of them have been killed in collisions with vehicles while they attempted to cross.

Without the ability to expand and establish new territories, they face not only the threat of deadly encounters with territorial older members of their own species, but also major problems that come with a lack of genetic diversity. Researchers recently gave them a 99.7 percent chance of going extinct in the next 50 years due to inbreeding.

Fortunately, these mountain lions have advocates who want to see them thrive in what’s otherwise perfect habitat for them. They have been working on plans to build a wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills to connect habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains with the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains in an effort to give them a safe corridor to expand. The project has been approved by Caltrans, but progress towards getting it done is now a matter of funding.

Hopefully the project will move forward in time to give these mountain lion kittens and their relatives a fighting chance to survive.

For more on how to help support a wildlife crossing to protect Santa Monica’s mountain lions, check out Save LA Cougars.

Photo credit: National Park Service

91 comments

Jonathan Y
Jonathan Y2 months ago

The Simi Hills are a tiny island of wild surrounded by the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area: Oxnard to the West, Simi Valley and Santa Clarita to the North, and Burbank/North Hollywood to the East, the only way out is to the South over Rt. 101 towards the Coast Ranges, but they're still crisscrossed with roads and suburbs.

The good news is California's larger mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevadas and the Coast Ranges, cover an area larger than the Alps and there are plenty of cougars or mountain lions especially in the Sierras. Hunting is banned and if you spend much time even in the foothills, you'll see one.

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jessica r
jessica r3 months ago

Great news! Now if they can just get that wildlife corridor built!

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Jetana A
Jetana A3 months ago

Keep their location secret! Hope CalTrans gets funding for the wildlife crossing.

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Renata B
Renata B3 months ago

Sending them all my love. Their lives will be difficult an full of dangers caused by humans. I wish them to manage to avoid the effects of our awful species.

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Chad A
Chad Anderson3 months ago

Great!

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Colin C
Colin C3 months ago

Nice photos

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michela c
michela c3 months ago

Hope they'll survive...

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Renata Kovacs
Renata Kovacs3 months ago

Beautiful Thank you for sharing..

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Georgina M
Georgina Elizab M3 months ago

good news ...please leave details of their whereabouts secret...keep them safe

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Anna R
Past Member 3 months ago

That's good. Thanks.

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