Five kittens join mountain lion crew

The kittens have been captured and ear-tagged as part of a study to see how the population copes with an urbanised and increasingly fragmented habitat.  Photo / National Park Service
The kittens have been captured and ear-tagged as part of a study to see how the population copes with an urbanised and increasingly fragmented habitat. Photo / National Park Service

America's favourite big-city big cats have welcomed five kittens to their crew.

Two new litters of baby mountain lions were captured on video in the Santa Susana Mountains north of Los Angeles, the National Park Service said.

And, no surprise, they nailed their Hollywood-area debut with adorable hisses, deep blue eyes and darling little claws.

The discovery of the kittens is significant because LA's mountain lion population doesn't have it easy.

Those in the Santa Monica Mountains, to the south, are hemmed in by multi-lane highways, which has prevented migration and led to an inbred population, and rodent poison is a regular threat.

One lonely lion known as P-22 has a big social media following but no lady lions to consort with.

Lions must also dodge cars near the kittens' home, the Santa Susanas, which are a key gateway connecting the animals with their brethren in the Santa Monicas and the Los Padres National Forest.

These mountain lion kittens are part of a litter of three, which biologists have dubbed P-50, P-51 and P-52. Photo / National Park Service
These mountain lion kittens are part of a litter of three, which biologists have dubbed P-50, P-51 and P-52. Photo / National Park Service

The kittens were captured and ear-tagged by the Park Service, which for 14 years has been studying how mountain lions in and around Los Angeles are coping with an urbanised and increasingly fragmented habitat.

- Washington Post

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