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2 Mountain Lion Kittens Survive After Litter Of 4 Found Near Thousand Oaks Office Building

THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) — A litter of female mountain lion kittens had to be rescued after being found under a picnic table near an office building in Thousand Oaks, according to the National Parks Service.

mountain lion kittens
(credit: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area)

Only two of the four kittens survived after being found without their mother outside an office building in Thousand Oaks. The two surviving kittens are being temporarily housed at the Orange County Zoo, National Parks Service spokeswoman Ana Beatriz Cholo said.

"We did everything we could to reunite these kittens with their mother, but I'm afraid she was likely already dead or had abandoned them," Biologist Jeff Sikich said in a statement. "The ideal situation is to keep these kittens wild and in their natural environment. That was the goal, but unfortunately it didn't work out in this case because their mother was not returning, and the condition of the kittens were deteriorating."

The kittens were found on Nov. 29 by an office worker who reported their presence to wildlife officials, according to Cholo. Biologists at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told the worker to leave them alone in the hopes their mother would return to them or they would return to the surrounding open space. But the next morning, they were found even closer to the office building, next to a recycling bin and visible to workers who could see them from inside the building.

Biologists from the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife decided to try tag the kittens, a process that included a full workup and physical exams The kittens were tagged P-100, P-101, P-102, and P-103 after they were found together under thick brush. They all weighed less than 4 ½ pounds, and were given fluids before they were returned to their den and trail cameras set up nearby.

The kittens were observed a little longer in the hopes that the mother had just been off hunting for two to three days, as is normal for mountain lion mothers. But when they saw one of the kittens, P-102, was not following her sisters as they moved to a new location, they realized she was in especially poor health, officials said. The researchers decided to rescue all the kittens and take them to a veterinarian, but officials say P-102 and P-100 died overnight.

The mother of the kittens is not known and was not being tracked by the National Park Service, which has been studying the mountain lion population in and around the Santa Monica Mountains for two decades.


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