The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) announced in a Tuesday, Dec. 17, Facebook post that two young male mountain lions—P-78 and P-79—have been added to its study of big cats in the region.

According to the post, which was written by Public Affairs Officer Ana Beatriz Cholo, P-78 was captured in the central portion of the Santa Monica Mountains on Dec. 11. The next morning, on Dec. 12, the SMMNRA was notified of P-79’s capture. The second mountain lion was darted by local California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials after being spotted in a backyard of a home in Simi Hills.

The SMMNRA outfitted both mountain lions with GPS radio collars that track their locations. According to Beatriz Cholo, collars help SMMNRA staff understand mountain lion behavior, movement and habitat connectivity as well. 

“If it hadn’t been for the collars, we would not know that mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains are pretty much trapped on an island of habitat and that there is inbreeding,” Beatriz Cholo wrote. “They also help us understand home range size, diet, survival rates, landscape use, frequency and location of road crossings and causes of mortality.”

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