Scientists are tracking another adult male mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains, marking the first time they have been aware of three such adult male animals in the region at the same time.
“During the course of our study, we’ve only been aware of one or two adult males at any given time in the Santa Monica Mountains,” Jeff Sikich, biologist for the National Park Service, said in a release, according to LA Observed. “We’re very interested to learn whether there are now three adult males or whether P-45 successfully challenged one of his competitors.”
Dubbed P-45, the newly discovered mountain lion weighed 150 pounds at capture, making him the biggest mountain lion in the NPS scientists’ study that began in 2002, with the exception of P-1, who also weighed 150 pounds, according to the release.
P-45 was captured and tagged on Nov. 21 and scientists are hoping DNA tests will shed light on how he came to be in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The other two male adult mountain lions that NPS is aware of in the region are P-27, who is estimated to be 8 years old, and P-12, whose fate is unknown but was spotted most recently in March.