2 mountain lion kittens abandoned by mother die

LOS ANGELES – Wildlife officials shared sad news that two mountain lion kittens born in the Santa Monica Mountains died.

The male and female kittens, known as P-57 and P-58, were abandoned by their 3-year-old mother, known as P-42, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area posted on Facebook Monday.

“We believe this is her first litter,” Ranger Kate Kuykendall posted. “Like all wild animals, many young do not survive until adulthood.”

Since park officials started tagging mountain lion kittens at four weeks of age, they have tagged 31 kittens. Five of those have been abandoned and all subsequently died, according to Kuykendall.

Park officials said a male mountain lion known as P-27 visited the den. The kitten’s mother was later seen wandering around with the male lion for about a week, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We have seen a similar scenario in our study when the mom will leave the den with another male, seemingly to distract him from preying on the kittens, and will then return and move the kittens to a new location,” Kuykendall told the Times. “Unfortunately, in this case P-42 did not return.”