Hikers found the remains of a dead mountain lion in Point Mugu State Park Sunday.
The lion was identified as Puma-25, a female lion who was about 1 year old, according to the National Park Service. She was transferred the remains to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory for a necropsy.
“Mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains face a number of challenges to survive,” said Dr. Seth Riley, an expert on urban wildlife with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). “In addition to conflicts with other lions over territory, lions here have to contend with road mortalities, rodenticide poisoning and occasionally disease.”
The death did not appear to be the result of a conflict with another lion, according to the NPS. Biologists believe the lion had been dead for about one week in the Santa Monica Mountains near Newbury Park.
The National Park Service released the following information in a press release:
Puma-25 was first discovered in remote camera photographs as one of two kittens. Along with her brother, P-26, the lion was the offspring of P-12 and P-13 and was fitted with an expandable GPS collar in August.
Expandable collars are designed to grow with the lion, but when P-25’s collar recently came off, researchers were only able to track her by monitoring the location of her mother and brother, who she was presumed to be traveling with.
A small group of hikers noticed a bad odor on Sunday and hiked a short distance from the trail to investigate. They discovered the dead mountain lion and reported it to a National Park Service ranger at Satwiwa Native American Culture Center in Newbury Park.
Biologists from SMMNRA, a unit of the National Park Service, are currently tracking eight mountain lions as part of a decade-long study to better understand how the animals survive in such an urbanized landscape.
Among the 26 mountain lions tracked during the course of the study, the number one cause of death has been conflict with other mountain lions, followed by an equal number of deaths from rodenticide poisoning and vehicle collisions.
P-25 and her brother, P-26, are from a different litter than the two kittens found in August near Malibu. Those kittens, P-23 and P-24, are the offspring of P-12 and 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.