P-2: First Mom of the Mountains
Female l Born late 90's l Died August 2005
The first mother studied in the Santa Monicas, she was known to have mated with P-1 at least twice, maybe thrice. Two male kittens, born before or just as the study began, were only found after they dispersed: P-9 and another kitten studied after its death (more on them below). But the second known litter offered a chance to observe and learn more. P-5, P-6, P-7, and P-8 were born in the late summer of 2004. At around 11 months, researchers noted P-2 considerably expanding her range. When all was said and done, it was nearly double in size! It’s thought that she was showing her kittens new areas for dispersal (see below for a similar range expansion of P-13 with her litter). P-2 died at the claws of P-1 in the summer of 2005. The fight was overheard by a field researcher nearby. The exact reason for the conflict is unknown, but theories include fighting over food and protecting her kittens. Intraspecific conflict (cougar-on-cougar fighting) is common to the species, though it’s believed the fragmented and locked-in nature of the Santa Monica Mountains exacerbates this behavior. Additionally, killing a female who was also a mate is curious from an evolutionary standpoint.
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