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Remote camera catches mountain lion kittens feeding on deer

February 25, 2014|By Samantha Schaefer

A remote camera snapped more than 350 high-quality images of mountain lion P-13 and her kittens as they fed on a mule deer over two nights in Malibu Creek State Park last week. 

The cameras were set up to check on the male and female kittens, P-30 and P-28, who biologists haven't seen since they were tagged when they were about three weeks old, said biologist Jeff Sikich with the National Park Service.

The kittens are now 10 months old, and though they have trackers that pinpoint their locations, Sikich said he was interested in how healthy they look.

The kittens appear healthy, "nice and fat," he said.

"Mom seems to be finding deer and prey for them," he said.

The animals fed separately -- one would feed, then take a break while another would come in for a bite, Sikich said.

"These are very elusive animals, mountain lions, they're not easy to go out and watch in the wild," he said. "We don't hardly get any behavioral information about them."

Sikich set up the camera at the feeding site during the day, after the mule deer had been killed. The animals were interested in the sound of the camera's shutter, but didn't seem to mind the flash, he said.

A National Park Service team has captured and collared more than 30 cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains during a long-term study started in 2002, including one particularly urban mountain lion known as P-22.   

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Twitter: @Sam_Schaefer

Samantha.Schaefer@latimes.com

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