A mountain lion has given birth to three female kittens in the Simi Hills, the National Park Service announced.
The mother, P-77, birthed P-113, P-114 and P-115 in the past few weeks.
When NPS biologists found the kittens, they were 24 days old and nestled in a patch of poison oak between boulders in the hills, which are between the Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountains.
Scientists inspected and measured each kitten, as well as tagging them for future tracking.
The mother, who was tagged in the Simi Hills 2019, is believed to be 5 or 6 years old, and as an adult, she’s settled in a patch between the 101 and 118 freeways, according to the NPS.
“It will be interesting to learn how these kittens will use the landscape once they get older and disperse, particularly if they decide to stay in the Simi Hills or cross freeways to enter larger natural areas,” said Jeff Sikich, the lead field biologist of the NPS mountain lion study. “It’s encouraging to see reproduction in our small population of mountain lions, especially after all the mortalities we have documented in the last year.”
Scientists are not sure who the father is — they believe he likely came from the Santa Susana Mountains and has since returned — but this is likely not P-77’s first litter of kittens, nor is it first to be found in the Simi Hills..
Many of the parents of those previous litters have been killed by fire, poachers and other — often human — causes.