A THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) – The ongoing investigation of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains has reached a new milestone – biologists are now tracking the region’s 99th cat.
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P-99 was captured on September 8, according to a press release this week from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It is estimated to be around 2 to 3 years old and was found in the western part of the Santa Monica Mountains.
When P-99 was captured, park officials said she was anesthetized and fully examined by biologists. She weighed 75 pounds, and biologists took other measurements, collected biological samples, performed a physical exam, and eventually fitted her with an ear tag and a GPS radio collar.
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The National Park Service has been studying mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002. P-99 is the newest mountain lion to be part of the study of animal survival and reproduction in a habitat blocked by one side of the Pacific Ocean, which is regularly devastated by forest fires and increasingly by highways, homes and other human Developments is affected.
Park officials say they are currently tracking 13 mountain lions with GPS collars in the area. But that number almost exceeds what prey and habitat in the area can support – biologists estimate that the Santa Monica Mountains, south of the 101 Freeway and west of the 405, can only feed about 10 to 15 mountain lions, not including kittens.
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A number of lions tracked by biologists have died over the years from vehicle attacks or rodenticides from ingesting prey that had consumed rat poison, which is now banned in California. Researchers are also very concerned that the narrowing from so much human development can lead to inbreeding and genetic abnormalities that could eventually cause native mountain lions to disappear from the Santa Monica Mountains.
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