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Inbreeding Deformities Found Among Cougars In Santa Monica Mountains

“The discovery was heartbreaking for biologists, who consider the mountain lions of Southern California to be among the most threatened mammals in North America: a young male with the distortions of inbreeding ā€” a tail kinked like the letter ā€œLā€ and only one descended testicle.

The cougar found in the Santa Monica Mountains in March represented the first documented physical manifestations of extremely low genetic diversity within an isolated population of less than two dozen mountain lions still roaming the rugged canyonlands just north of Los Angeles.

Since then, scientists have found two more lions with similar deformities. Announcement of the findings was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.”

Louis Sahagun reports for the Los Angeles Times September 10, 2020.