A mountain lion named P-77 gave birth to a litter of adorable kittens in California, officials said.
Biologists found the mama mountain lion’s three “kittens in a dense patch of poison oak nestled among large boulders” on May 18 in the Simi Hills, according to a May 25 news release by the National Park Service.
Park service officials said the litter is healthy and about 24 days old. The female kittens were named P-113, P-114 and P-115.
P-77 is about 5 to 6 years old and was first captured in the area in November 2019, officials said.
Remote camera imaging from P-77’s first capture also showed evidence that she had a previous litter, officials said.
“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,” Jeff Sikich, the lead field biologist of the NPS mountain lion study, said in the release. “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.”
Female mountain lions typically have cubs every two years. They usually give birth in a den to between two and four cubs, according to National Geographic. The cubs then live with their mother for a little over a year before heading out on their own, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
In 2002, the National Park Service started studying mountain lions to see how they’d survive near a city, the release said.
Biologists visit dens while the mother is hunting, resting or feeding, officials said. One monitors her movements, and other team members go to the den. Eventually, they’ll take the kittens’ measurements and tag them to make it easier to identify them in the future.
The Simi Hills is a mountain range between Santa Monica and the Santa Susana Mountain ranges, about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles.