Puma Profiles: P-23

Mountain Lion among rocks and brush.


This female born in 2012 was a product of first-order inbreeding. Her father, P-12, mated with P-19, his daughter. Years later, P-23 mated and gave birth to a litter (P-36 and P-37). The father? Again, P-12, representing another documented case of inbreeding in the Santa Monica Mountains. P-23 found her way into the news after bicyclists witnessed her killing a deer on Mulholland Highway. It was quite a sight!

P-23 was found dead near the side of Malibu Canyon Road in January 2018. It is believed that she was struck and killed by a vehicle. Her kittens, P-54 and an untagged kitten, were one year old at the time of her death and around the age when kittens typically leave their mother.

As a mom, P-23 had some particularly bad luck with having her kittens preyed upon by other mountain lions. (Read more about those cases -- including a positive discovery of a survivor kitten -- on our wildlife blog, Gridlocked.) In the winter of 2017, her third litter was found by researchers who tagged a kitten now identified as P-54. Her half-sibling P-30 is suspected to be the father. If genetic testing confirms that, the theme of inbreeding continues.

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Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Last updated: January 20, 2023