New Mountain Lion Turns Up in Santa Monica Mountains

MALIBU (CNS) - The Santa Monica Mountains have a new resident, a young female mountain lion caught wandering in a Pacific Palisades trailer park, it was reported today.

Dubbed P-75 by scientists, the mountain lion is the latest addition to their study tracking 10 lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Los Angeles Times reported.

P-75, which is about a year old and a healthy 50 pounds, was seen taking shelter in a tree. The Los Angeles Police Department responded to 3 Kiki Place on Monday morning and secured the area while California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials arrived, said Peter Tira, a spokesman for the department.

By the time they got there, P-75 had climbed down from the tree and found cover nearby. She was found along a small retaining wall in a backyard, Tira said.

“We don*t know exactly where she came from,” he said, adding that she had likely left her mother only recently. “These lions often are the ones that get lost, take a wrong turn, end up in a populated area, get stuck somewhere they don't want to be and sometimes need help getting back to wild habitat.”

P-75 was tranquilized and biologists took her weight, measurements and blood samples. P-75 jumped out of a tree and took shelter nearby.

Fish and Wildlife officials coordinated with the National Park Service to outfit her with a GPS tracking collar and ID tag. She was then released into the mountains, and officially added as a participant in the study, officials said.

Officials say there is much to be gained from studying mountain lions like P-75. Several that were subjects of the study died in the Woolsey fire blaze in November, or shortly after.

In its history, 75 big cats have been part of the study, explaining the latest big cat's designation. Scientists involved in the study have pushed for protective status for the animals. They are not endangered, but the state Fish and Game Commission has said that six isolated and genetically distinct cougar clans from Santa Cruz to the U.S.-Mexico border comprise a subpopulation that is threatened.

Recent scientific studies suggest there's an almost 1 in 4 chance that Southern California mountain lions could become extinct in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains within 50 years.

Photo: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

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