Southern California may be home to Hollywood stars and the Happiest Place on Earth, but it's also home to more wild animals than many people think. There are the normal suburban residents, like raccoons and possums, but there are also some larger animals prowling in the hills.
Many mountain lions have their homes in the Santa Monica mountains, for example. There are so many cougars (that's another name for mountain lion) in the area that the National Park Service has been studying the animal population there since 2002. Researchers are interested to know how the wild animals are "surviving in a fragmented and urbanized environment, according to ABC News. And thanks to this study, two new mountain lion kittens were recently discovered!
Earlier this month, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area posted an adorable video of the two wild kittens on their Facebook page. It's not surprising to see what a response the brother and sister have gotten from their Southern California neighbors. Make sure to watch it with your sound up!
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They're so adorable! These babies may not have gotten the hang of using their voices quite yet, but they'll be all grown up before we know it. In fact, this video is a great reminder of how the most unapproachable animals can be some of the most adorable, too.
As Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area explained, these two mountain lion kittens will be known as P-116 (female) and P-117 (male). Their mother is P-106, who the National Park Service has previously met. If their letter and number names sound familiar, you're likely remembering the famous mountain lion P-22 who was euthanized at an old 12 years of age.
When the kitten's mother is away hunting or looking for food, den biologists will approach the den, remove the kittens for a short health assessment, and place them back in the den. Don't worry--someone is always tracking Mom's movements! Wild cougars can be unpredictable, just like any animal, so the utmost precaution is always taken.
Working with animals can come with risks, but many agree that it's well worth ensuring they grow up happy and healthy. Besides, adorable animal videos like this one happen as a result!