Awwww. National Park Service

The adorable P-46 and P-47 don’t have an easy road ahead of them.

It’s not easy being a mountain lion in L.A. You’ve got freeways, rat poison, inbreeding, and interspecies competition working against your chances at survival, not to mention reproduction. So it’s impressive when kittens are born.

Serious admiration—and high-pitched squeals—are in order for a new brother-sister duo of mountain lion babies. P-46 and P-47, as they’re now known, respectively, were discovered by National Park Service biologists in the western Santa Monica Mountains in December, after GPS evidence suggested that their mother, P-19, had given birth. This is P-19’s third litter of kittens.

“We continue to see successful reproduction, which indicates that the quality of the natural habitat is high for such a relatively urbanized area,” Jeff Sikich, a biologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a statement.

But these little cats have a tough road ahead. Their mother will likely abandon them after 12-18 months, or what’s known as “dispersal age." From there, they’ll have to fend for themselves, and again, that’s not easy—especially on their island of habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains, cut off from other ranges by the 101 Freeway. A proposed wildlife crossing spanning the freeway could greatly boost mountain lions’ chance of survival.

For now, like their mom and other local mountain lions, P-46 and P-47 have their own GPS tracking devices. The NPS keeps tabs on the carnivores to better understand how they survive in their small and fragmented habitat—and to help protect them.

Watch a video below of the kittens in their den, and another of their mom coming home to them. Awww!

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: subway in NYC

    Inside Bloomberg's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

    Drawing on his time as New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg proposes handing power and money to urban leaders as part of his Democratic presidential bid.

  2. Environment

    Housing Discrimination Made Summers Even Hotter

    The practice of redlining in the 1930s helps explain why poorer U.S. neighborhoods experience more extreme heat.

  3. photo: a couple tries out a mattress in a store.

    What’s the Future of the ‘Sleep Economy’?

    As bed-in-a-box startup Casper files for an IPO, the buzzy mattress seller is betting that the next big thing in sleep is brick-and-mortar retail outlets.

  4. a map of the U.S. Midwest

    We Mapped ‘the Midwest’ for You, So Stop Arguing

    We surveyed more than 12,000 people (and counting) about the most contentious border question in the U.S. to reveal the true geography of America’s midsection.   

  5. Transportation

    In Paris, a Very Progressive Agenda Is Going Mainstream

    Boosted by big sustainability wins, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pitching bold plans to make the city center “100 percent bicycle” and turn office space into housing.