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Contact: Lauren Newman, 805-370-2343
Friday, July 31: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area staff captured, collared, and released a newly discovered mountain lion in the Hidden Valley region of the Santa Monica Mountains. Named P-13, this mountain lion could be the kitten of mountain lion P-6, a female that was previously radio-collared and known to be in the area recently based on remote camera photos. Blood and tissue collected during the capture will be used for DNA testing through UCLA that will help determine the potential relationship between P-13 and P-6.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area conducts ongoing mountain lion studies, tracking their movement, health, and the impacts of urbanization on mountain lion survival. Other mountain lions are also confirmed residents of the Santa Monica Mountains. Mountain lion P-1, the first one collared in this study, is now thought to be 12 or 13 years old and is most likely alive following a fight with another mountain lion. P-10 and P-12 are both two-year-old males with functioning collars and currently inhabit the Topanga and Malibu Creek areas respectively, although male lions often roam across the entire Santa Monica Mountains. P-13 joins them as the third mountain lion with a functioning collar. She is thought to be at least one year old.
Mountain lions face significant challenges in the Santa Monica Mountains, primarily due to limited habitat and threats from urbanization including freeways, such as Highway 101, that obstruct travel. In February of 2009, P-12 successfully crossed Highway 101 at Liberty Canyon, an unprecedented event in the mountain lion study. Designated wildlife corridors within the mountains offer the lions opportunities for long distance movement and the ability to discover new mates. Mountain lions have a range up to 250 square miles, and require ample acreage to find sufficient food.
Fortunately, to date there haven’t been any reported negative direct interactions between humans and mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. Sightings are incredibly rare, even for people who spend large amounts of time in the area. Preservation of open space and wildlife corridors in the Santa Monica Mountains through local, state, and federal partnerships is integral to regional mountain lion survival.