National Park Service researchers say they’ve discovered a litter of four cute looking mountain lion cubs in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, but they are also worried they may be the result of inbreeding.
They appear to be in good health. The researchers say it’s the fourth litter of kittens for their mother, a mountain lion known as P-19.
She’s believed to have mated with P-56, a three year old male who is also her grandson. It gets even more complicated. The researchers think P-56’s mother mated with her own father, and grandfather.
The researchers say with Highway 101 bisecting major chunks of the mountain lions habitats, it is having serious impacts on genetic diversity, and could open the path to this specific population’s eventual extinction.
There’s an effort underway to build a wildlife crossing in the Agoura Hills area to help create more genetic diversity among the big cats.