Discovered recently in early September was a new litter of mountain lion kittens, the sixteenth litter of kittens marked by National Park Service biologists at a den site. The now 2 month old kittens, two males and two females (P-70, P-71, P-72, and P-73), were found in a remote area of the Santa Monica Mountains. While the kittens appear to be in good health, researchers have reason to believe that they are the result of inbreeding. Mother P-19 is suspected to have mated with her grandson, P-56, as they were seen together 90 days prior to the birth of the kittens, the typical gestation period for mountain lions.
Though genetic testing is required to confirm P-56’s paternity, inbreeding is a serious problem for mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, especially those that are isolated south of the 101 Freeway. Genetic diversity is now dangerously low in the Santa Monica Mountains, putting our mountain lions at risk for local extinction. In an attempt to solve this problem, Caltrans and numerous partners are coming together to work on the plans for a wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon. An environmental compliance document for the project was released earlier this year.
Here at the SAMO Fund, we are dedicated to the conservation of the mountain lions living in the Santa Monica Mountains. To help us protect this magnificent species, consider donating to help fund the building of the wildlife crossing here.