A cougar recently discovered in the Simi Hills is the latest big cat to become part of a long-term study of mountain lions in the Los Angeles area, officials announced Monday.
Mountain lion P-77 is an approximately 2-year-old female reported to be in good health, according to a post on Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area's Facebook page.
She was recently captured, outfitted with a radio-collar and released back in the Simi Hills.
P-77 is the third cougar this year to join the National Park Service's study.
Since 2002, the agency has been looking at mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains. Surrounded by roads and major freeways, the fragmented landscape has presented numerous challenges that threaten the survival of the nocturnal species in the urban sprawl.
Those challenges are underscored by the recent deaths of three mountain lions.
One of the big cats, P-61, died after being struck by a vehicle on the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass in early September. He was apparently being chased by another puma at the time.
The following month, Park Service officials announced the deaths of two other mountain lions, P-30 and P-53.
P-30, a 6-year-old male cat, was found to have died from ingesting rat poison. A cause of death was not identified for P-53, but a necropsy determined she had four different compounds of anticoagulant rodenticide in her liver.
Los Angeles is one of just two metropolitan areas in the world with mountain lions living within city limits, according to the Park Service. The other megacity is Mumbai, India.