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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Despite being one of the most urbanized regions in North America, the Los Angeles basin is still home to a handful of Pumas..........They are hemmed in by freeways and development and are starting to show signs of inbreeding as opportunities to move in and out of the Santa Monica Mountains is nearly impossible

2 Mountain Lion Kittens Born in Santa Monica Mountains

The habitat in the local mountains is "robust" for hunting and reproduction, but the kittens will face many challenges to survive, National Parks Service says.
One of two mountain lion kittens born in the Santa Monica Mountains in mid-June.
Two mountain lion kittens were recently discovered by National Park Service biologists in the Santa Monica Mountians, bringing the total of studied mountains lions in the area to 24. "The fact that successful reproduction is occurring in the mountains indicates that we have high-quality habitat for mountains lions here," said Dr. Seth Riley, a wildlife expert with the National Park Service.
Riley said the habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains isn't big enough to support a larger population of mountain lions."Unfortunately, the amount of habitat is not sufficient to support a viable population long-term, and when new animals like these are born, especially young males, they run into freeways and development when they try to disperse," he said.

The kittens' mother is Puma 19, who was captured a few months ago and appeared to be pregnant.
While the mother was away, researchers outfitted the female and male kittens with tracking devices in their den east of Circle X Ranch in Malibu, according to Kate Kuykendall of the parks service.

The kittens were likely born in mid-June.They are the second documented case of first-order inbreeding in which a father lion mates with his female offspring, according to the parks service.
DNA testing from the Robert Wayne Lab at UCLA indicated that the father of the kittens is P-12, who is also the father of P-19.

Biologist believe P-12—the only lion they have documented crossing the 101 Freeway—also fathered a 2-year-old male that was shot and killed in downtown Santa Monica in May.
That lion was likely trying to establish his own home range. That it trekked all the way to Second Street in Santa Monica is typical of what experts call a "dispersal" stage, when young adult male lions look for new territory to escape threats from larger male lions or to find a mate.

Seth Riley, an urban wildlife expert with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, has noted that such movements can be critical for animal populations that are penned-in by geography and development—such as the mountain lions hemmed in by the 101 and 405 freeways. The loss and fragmentation of their habitat because of development is the biggest threat to mountain lions in the region, Riley said.

In a press release, the parks service warned of kitten's chances of survival:
Although the habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains is robust and suitable for hunting and reproduction, the kittens will face many challenges to survive. The limited amount of connectivity between remaining natural areas and the lack of effective wildlife crossings can lead to deadly conflicts over territory and road mortalities.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Biologists from recreation area are now tracking seven mountain lions as part of a decade-long study to better understand how the animals survive in urbanized landscapes.
The recently discovered kittens are the third litter to be documented during the study.

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