SoCal's mountain lion population has officially grown by two.
Researchers tagged spotted mountain lion kittens as part of a National Park Service study of the Santa Monica and Santa Susana Mountains.
P-43 and P-44, both females, are both three and four weeks old and from separate litters. The kittens are the 43rd and 44th pumas the National Park Service has tracked.
Researchers have been following P-43's mother since she was three weeks old. P-43, of the Santa Monica Mountains, is part of her second litter of kittens.
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Researchers believe P-44, of the Santa Susana Mountains, is part of her mother's second litter. Her mother was collared in April 2014 and is estimated to be about five years old. National Park Service bioligist Jeff Sikich said mountain lion P-38, who was captured in March, is likely P-44's father, as GPS information showed he and P-44's mother traveled together for a few days three months before she delivered the kittens.
"Mountain lions are solitary animals and typically adults only spend time together if they're fighting or mating," Sikich said in a statement. "They're both alive and well, so my guess is that P-39 is the father."
Researchers can tell a mother may have a litter if her GPS points are localized for the first three weeks after giving birth, park officials said. Sikich uses a GPS to track down the den location, crawling through thick brush to get there. He found P-43 underneath thick brush after about 45 minutes of searching and took her to a work station to assess her health, measure her, take blood and tissues samples and mark her.
Both kittens are the only single litters the researchers have documented since the study began in 2002, according to NPS.