Meet P-78 and P-79: Newest Members of Local Mountain Lion Population

Two new cats in the Santa Monica Mountains

By Sam Catanzaro

Two new mountain lions have been added to the National Parks Service’s (NPS) study of big cats in the Santa Monica Mountains.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the NPS’s Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area announced the addition of two young male mountain lions to the 17-year study of big cats in the Santa Monica Mountains and the surrounding region.

P-78, a subadult male, was captured in the central portion of the Santa Monica Mountains on December 11. The next morning, the NPS met with local California Department of Fish & Wildlife officials in Simi Hills after they darted a young male mountain lion spotted in the backyard of a home. This cat, P-79, was moved to nearby open space in the Santa Susana Mountains.

Both animals were outfitted with GPS radio collars that provide location information at up to 8 points per day.

“Did you know that the collars help us understand mountain lion behavior, movement and habitat connectivity? For instance, if it hadn’t been for the collars, we would not know that mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains are pretty much trapped on an island of habitat and that there is inbreeding. They also help us understand home range size, diet, survival rates, landscape use, frequency and location of road crossings, and causes of mortality,” said Ranger Ana Beatriz.

Just last month another mountain lion, P-77, was added to the study after discovered in good health in the Simi Hills.

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