L.A.’s mountain lion population has grown by two fuzzy bundles of joy. The National Park service announced the arrival of sis-and-bro kittens P-59 and P-60 today, though the little nuggets were discovered earlier this month.
The proud mom is two-year-old P-53 and the suspected pops is local lion lothario P-12, who crossed into the Santa Monica Mountains from the north and who brought a new set of genes to a population seriously lacking in genetic diversity. He’s a ladykiller, which has been great in terms of reducing inbreeding, but he’s also a cat, which means he doesn’t think really think about inbreeding. P-12 has been known to mate with his own offspring and even with their offspring, which may very well be how P-59 and P-60 came to be. “If P-12 is in fact these kittens’ father, that also means he’s their grandfather, their great grandfather, and their great-great grandfather,” says Jeff Sikich, a biologist with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. That’s more incest than a Game of Thrones episode.
A DNA test will determine the kittens’ parentage for sure, the results of which we can only hope will be livestreamed in glorious Maury-esque fashion. In the meantime, get a gander at the potential family album:
All photographs courtesy National Park Service