Two recent mountain lion kittens, known as P-57 and P-58, did not survive after their mother left them in their den, rangers for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation area announced on Facebook. It was the fourth and fifth time (out of 31 cubs tags during the Santa Monica Mountains study) that cubs were abandoned and known to have died. It happens. The mother, P-42, went off with male P-27, the National Park Service says.
We are saddened to share that this new litter of mountain lion kittens has not survived. Known as P-57 (male) and P-58 (female), these two kittens were abandoned by their three-year-old mother, P-42. We believe this was her first litter. Like all wild animals, many young do not survive until adulthood. These two youngsters were the fourth and fifth kittens (of 31 kittens we have tagged at four weeks of age) that we know have been abandoned, and subsequently died, during our study.
Interestingly, adult male P-27 visited the den and he and the mom traveled together for six days. We have seen a similar scenario in our study when the mom will leave the den with another male, seemingly to distract him from preying on the kittens, and will then return and move the kittens to a new location. Unfortunately, in this case P-42 did not return.