(KTLA) — Nationwide Park Service officers on Wednesday reported discovering a report variety of mountain lion dens within the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills throughout what they’re calling “a summer season of kittens.”

5 mountain lions gave beginning to a complete of 13 kittens from Might to August 2020, in keeping with a press release from the Santa Monica Mountains Nationwide Recreation Space.

That’s a report variety of dens inside the time interval in the course of the officers’ 18-year examine of mountain lions within the space. The earlier report, 4 dens, discovered throughout 10 months, was reported in 2015.

Jeff Sikich, a wildlife biologist who has been learning the Santa Monica Mountains’ resident felines, referred to as “this degree of replica an incredible factor to see, particularly since half of our mountains burned nearly two years in the past in the course of the Woolsey Fireplace.”

Researchers go to the dens when the mom leaves to hunt for meals, feed or relaxation, in keeping with NPS.

By telemetry, a biologist tracks her motion whereas others inspect the well being of the kittens and tag them. The tags later assist scientists determine the cats on webcam footage and after they’re captured to be fitted with radio collars.

Scientists discovered the primary litter on Might 14 after 4-year-old P-54 gave birth to three kittens, two males and one feminine.

The second den, with three feminine kittens by 10-year-old P-19, was found on June 19. Researchers imagine it’s her fifth litter, after giving beginning to 4 kittens in 2018.

“Mountain lion moms usually increase their offspring for a few yr and a half, which probably means P-19 didn’t get a lot of a reprieve from kitten-raising earlier than she turned pregnant together with her newest litter,” a press release from NPS mentioned.

Scientists discovered the third den on July 6. P-65, a 3 1/2-year-old cat who survived the Woolsey Fireplace in November 2018, gave beginning to 1 feminine and two male kittens. She has stayed inside the burn space, however monitoring knowledge reveals her residing in small unburned patches inside the perimeter, in keeping with NPS.

On July 7, NPS officers discovered P-67’s den of two kittens — one male and one feminine — within the Simi Hills. It’s solely the second time NPS found a litter on the website, the primary time being in 2018.

Lastly, on Aug. 6, scientists discovered two feminine kittens by P-80. She had her litter inside an unburned portion of the Woolsey Fireplace perimeter.

The scientists have been learning cougars within the 150,000-acre Santa Monica Mountains Nationwide Recreation Space in Ventura and L.A. counties to learn the way the animals can survive “a fragmented and urbanized setting,” NPS mentioned.

“It is going to be fascinating to see how these kittens use the panorama within the coming years and navigate the numerous challenges, each pure and human-caused, they may face as they get older and disperse,” Sikich mentioned.

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