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Photograph: National Park Service/Flickr

Tiny mountain lion kittens are prowling the mountains around LA

Brittany Martin

There are five super-cute new kittens in town, but they’re not going to be up for adoption any time soon. They’re the members of two litters of mountain lions (aka cougars, panthers, pumas, catamounts… whatever term you choose to use) who have been found in the Santa Susana Mountains of Los Angeles County, Newsweek reports. Each litter has a different mother, one belongs to the animal known in Park Service circles as P-39, the other to P-35, but are believed to share the same father, the evidently frisky P-38.

Some of the little guys were found hiding in a small cave covered with dense underbrush, which is ideal for a mama lion protecting her cubs. Unfortunately, they will soon outgrow their safe, comfortable habitat and be forced out into an uncertain future. (We feel you, puma cubs.)

Life is not easy for urban wildlife. Much like the coyotes who have been spotted encroaching on residential areas, mountain lions are suffering from a shrinking natural habitat and are prowling into populated areas more often in search of food and water. When they do, they run the risk of being hit by cars or licking up what they think is potable water along the streets but turns out to be puddles of poisonous chemicals. The small available wild space also pits adult mountain lions, particularly adult males, against one another to compete for the remaining territory and resources.

Nonetheless, these newborns are a good sign that, in spite of all those challenges, the local populations are still able to reproduce viable cats. One of the mother lions last gave birth back in April of 2014, but that kitten did not survive. Here’s hoping these ones fare better out there.  

Below, watch a video of the cubs playing around, courtesy of the National Park Service.

Five Kittens Born in Santa Susana Mountains

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