CATS OUT OF THE BAG: The U.S. National Park Service just released photos of newly discovered mountain lion kittens.
Breaking news from the baby animal beat! Biologists with the U.S. National Park Service recently discovered two new puma kittens in the Santa Monica Mountains, and the pair is nothing short of adorable.
The blue-eyed boy and girl, named P-46 and P-47, respectively, are already donning tracking devices so researchers can keep tabs on them. These two will need as many guardians as they can get, because the lil’ big cats have a tough road ahead of them. Their habitat, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, is essentially an island surrounded by freeways, and the mountain lion population there faces many threats, including fragmentation, speeding cars, rat poison, and inbreeding. In fact, the kittens’ mom, P-19, had two previous litters by her own father. A paternity test will soon let the scientists know whether this time around the papa is a newcomer (with new genes), a cat by the name of P-45.
Despite the challenging landscape, the pumas in the Santa Monica Mountains are making do—this is the eleventh litter the NPS has discovered since it began studying the area in 2002.
This post first appeared in OnEarth.