It's Wednesday morning and the world has been grim (this last week and generally always) and the coffee I'm drinking is foul and I didn't shower. And yet, there is a video of mountain lion kittens to look at.
These mountain lion kittens are deeply precious. They are the definition of precious. They are a joy to behold, and they look kind of like my cat that lives with me in my house, whom I love very much but don't get to spend my days with because I have a job. They are rare, and considered a beacon of hope by biologists who study mountain lion populations in southern California.
The proliferation of highways and suburban development near Los Angeles has limited the habitat options for mountain lions, which generally make their homes far away from people (despite the fact that weird film The Neon Demon may try to convince you otherwise). These kittens were found in the Santa Susana Mountains by biologist Jeffrey Sikich. Sikich told National Geographic that he watched the GPS coordinates of an adult male mountain lion earlier this year, noting when and where he spent time with two adult female mountain lions. Later, he went out in search of babes and found two different litters of these blue-eyed beauties.
Not only are they the most adorable thing you are likely to see in your life on Earth, they're extremely useful data sources for scientists trying to keep track of the mountain lion population.
adorable, and a valuable data source
Right now, biologists are worried about a lack of genetic diversity caused by the fact that populations are isolated from each other in small habitats. "Our lions in the Santa Monica Mountains have some of the lowest genetic diversity ever recorded outside the Florida panther, which nearly went extinct," Sikich told National Geographic.
The hope is that one of the baby male mountain lions found in the Santa Susana Mountains will someday make it to the Santa Monica Mountains and diversify the genetic pool there, though scientists have only seen mountain lions make this journey once before.
In any case, these lil guys are so dear to me and I think we should name them. The official names for the two above are P-48 and P-49. They should be named Donnie and Robert, after two iconic Jake Gyllenhaal film characters.