A three-year old 75 pound female is the latest study animal in the ongoing National Park Service (NPS) study of urban cougars (also known and mountain lions and pumas).. NPS and news reports say she was captured September 8 in the western part of the Santa Monica Mountains. The range includes major freeways such as the 101 and 405 and is also heavily populated. The sedated cat was examined by vets, given an ear tag, weighed and had biological samples taken. Her parents are undetermined as of now and she may be offspring of one or even two of the other cats in the study, of which 13 are currently collared.
Confined space, human proximity and inter-cat conflict have led to the deaths of many cats in the study, which has been ongoing for about 20 years. The study began when a pair of the big cats delivered a litter. The male P-1 eventually killed the female and her kittens.
The cats are numbered sequentially and the P stands for Puma which is the most standard name in the science community. Pumas are known to have the most names of any other cat. Puma, mountain lion, cougar and catamount are among the more common but there are many others. The cats also have the greatest north-south range of any cat and are found from Canada and Alaska down to most of South America.
It was not all good news however. Monrovia, a female rescued from the Bobcat Fire was rehabilitated and released. She survived for about 10 months and seemed to be doing well, including gaining weight. However she was recently found dead. A necropsy (animal autopsy) was inconclusive. She was estimated to be about 6 years old and cougars rarely live past 10.