Her babies are finally here ????
Denise M. Peterson had been waiting months for this. Ever since Peterson, founder of the Utah Mountain Lion Conservation, noticed a female and male mountain lion roaming the area together, she’d been checking the trail cameras in the Utah wilderness, hoping to see someone small.
Finally, this month, Peterson checked the footage and there they were — three baby mountain lions roaming through the snow with their mom.
“I was over-the-moon excited!” Peterson told The Dodo.
Peterson quickly posted the thrilling footage to Facebook.
“Yesterday’s camera check came with a delightful surprise,” she wrote in the post.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources estimates that there are about 2,500 mountain lions in Utah. However, determining an exact number of mountain lions is difficult, given that the cats are very elusive. According to Peterson, hunting in the region has increased in recent years, further damaging mountain lion numbers. Kitten survival rates are generally quite low, so it was especially exciting to see three healthy babies on the cam.
“It was truly a gift!” Peterson said.
Peterson noted that these babies will stay with their mother for around 18 months to two years. During this time, the mother will teach her kittens important skills, like hunting, stalking, caching, prey selection, what areas to avoid and more. According to the Mountain Lion Foundation, these big cats are “ecological engineers,” meaning their behavior helps keep the larger ecosystem functioning, ultimately aiding in the fight against climate change.
In the trail camera footage, you can watch as the baby mountain lions dutifully follow their mother wherever she goes. For this little family, sticking together is what matters most.