In a captivating video from Southern California, two juvenile mountain lions have been captured trying to roar at scientists, only to produce a rather harmless hiss. The intriguing footage was shot in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA), a vast expanse of over 157,000 acres that is home to various parks and open space preserves. Managed by the National Park Service (NPS), the SMMNRA is globally recognized for its exemplary representation of a Mediterranean climate ecosystem.
These mountain lions, part of a large cat species indigenous to the Americas, are primarily found in 14 Western states in the US, with their habitats ranging from mountains and forests to deserts and wetlands. Despite their extensive habitat range, human encounters with these elusive creatures are rare, owing to their solitary nature. In California, the population of these cats is estimated to be between 4,000 and 6,000. The two mountain lion kittens featured in the video were discovered in the dense chaparral of the Santa Susana Mountains, a scrubland plant community within the SMMNRA.
Mountain Lion Cubs Attempt to Roar at Biologists, Emit Adorable Hiss Instead
In a fascinating video captured in Southern California, two young mountain lion cubs can be seen attempting to roar at biologists, only to emit an unthreatening hiss. The video was recorded in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA), administered by the National Park Service (NPS). Spanning over 157,000 acres, the SMMNRA is globally recognized as a prime example of a Mediterranean climate ecosystem.
Mountain Lions in California
Mountain lions are large cats native to the Americas. Their habitat stretches from Canada’s Yukon Territory to Chile’s Strait of Magellan. Predominantly found in 14 Western states in the US, these cats inhabit various environments including mountains, forests, deserts, and wetlands. The elusive and solitary nature of these mammals makes human encounters rare. The population of these magnificent creatures in California is estimated between 4,000 and 6,000.
A Peek into the Wild
The video features two mountain lion kittens discovered by NPS biologists in dense chaparral, a type of scrubland plant community, in Santa Susana Mountains. The female kitten, known as P-116, and her brother P-117, born to their mother P-106 in May, were around 24 days old at the time of the video. SMMNRA shared the video on their Facebook page, encouraging viewers to "turn up the volume" to catch the kittens’ adorable vocalizations.
NPS’s Mountain Lion Study
The NPS has been studying mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002 to understand how they thrive in a fragmented and urbanized environment. The biologists visit dens like these when the mother is away hunting or resting. The cubs in the video mark the 26th litter of kittens biologists have encountered at the site. During these visits, the researchers carry out general health assessments of the kittens, take body measurements, collect biological samples, and place uniquely numbered and colored ear tags on each kitten for future identification.
The video showcases the extraordinary efforts of the NPS biologists in studying and preserving the mountain lions in their natural habitat. It serves as a gentle reminder of the biodiversity that exists even in urbanized environments and the need to protect it. The kittens’ endearing attempts at intimidation provide a heartwarming insight into the early stages of life for these elusive creatures.