A female mountain lion was recently born and marked by researchers in the Santa Monica Mountains, officials announced Tuesday.
It was not immediately clear when the kitten’s mother, P-23, gave birth, according to an Instagram Post from the Santa Monica Mountains National Park Service.
The agency described P-54’s birth as “good news,” but that it is “tempered” by suspicions that the father is P-30 — a half brother of P-23 — making her the possible product of inbreeding.
Ranger Kate Kuykendall from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area told the Daily News that it was unclear whether P-23 had given birth to any other cubs, but researchers were unable to find any after thoroughly searching the area.
National Park Service researchers and California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently marked the young mountain lion.
The kitten was around a month old at the time when the team, accompanied by veterinarians, found P-54 in a den while her mother was away, the newspaper reported.
DNA samples have been taken and sent to UCLA to confirm if P-30 is the father, according to the Daily News.
The kitten’s birth comes months after three mountain lions — a mother and two of her cubs — were all killed in the area while crossing the 118 Freeway within weeks of one another.
Officials noted that the regions’s extensive freeway network has been a major barrier for wildlife in the area, and mountain lions in particular.
A proposed wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills would help, as it would provide a connection between the hemmed in and generally isolated population of mountain lions with the more robust ones north of the area, according to the post.
Meet P-54! National Park Service researchers, along with biologists from @CaliforniaDFW, recently marked her in the #SantaMonicaMountains. It's good news, for sure, but it's tempered by suspicion that she is a product of inbreeding. Her mother, P-23, is suspected of mating with P-30, a half sibling. The extensive freeway network here has shown to be a major barrier for wildlife and has particularly hemmed in the mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains. A proposed wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills would provide a connection between this genetically isolated population and the robust ones to the north.