Conservationists are rejoicing after a rare sighting of a mountain lion kitten outside LA last Saturday.
The National Parks Services (NPS) outside Los Angeles reported having seen a young mountain lion among the small and threatened population in the region. There were 15 known mountain lions in the area, and the sighting of this kitten brings the number up to 16.
According to wildlife experts a litter of kittens born earlier this year was thought to have come to a grisly end, after three kittens were cannibalized by an older male, and one was killed by an unspecified predator, according to the LA Times. The existence of this kitten makes it the only surivivor of the litter and is a surprise to experts who’d been monitoring the lions.
“It’s a cause for celebration because there is one more to count in that struggling population,” Beth Pratt-Bergstrom of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) told The Guardian on Saturday. Mountain lions are threatened by inbreeding, poison, and highway deaths, as well as the inability to access a larger territory, which leads to incest and killing off of younger animals. For this last reason, Pratt-Bergstrom has started a campaign to raise funds for a large “wildlife bridge” which would allow the animals to access the territory they badly need, without having to risk the dangers of a high-way crossing.
Little is known about the kitten so far, but conservationists are hoping it is male so that it might add to the gene pool. They will continue to monitor the group with extra care in the hope of finding out more.
See the NPS’s video here