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Biologists track 3-legged bobcat and her 1-eared kitten in Santa Monica Mountains

Biologists are tracking another wildcat in the Santa Monica Mountains — this time it's a three-legged bobcat with a kitten to feed.

Biologists aren't sure why the bobcat, dubbed B-337, is missing a leg, whether by genetic defect or injury, but her kitten, B-336, also happens to be missing an ear, according to a blog post from the National Park Service.

B-337 kept showing up on camera traps before finally getting caught in a cage trap and collared, NPS communications fellow Zach Behrens writes.


(Video: B-337, or Bobcat 337, is released after being captured by National Park Service researchers on the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains. | Credit: National Park Service)

Bobcats and other wildlife face a number of threats in the area, from other animals to roads and even rat poison. Such threats have limited the genetic diversity of bobcats and mountain lions, which have often had to resort to inbreeding.

But both bobcats appear to be doing fine despite their handicaps, according to biologist Joanne Moriarty.

"Bobcats catch live prey, so that means she's managing to hunt with one front leg--and doing it well enough to feed herself and her kitten," Moriarty says in the post.

Moriarty said preliminary data suggest B-337's range may be smaller than the roughly one square mile averaged by other female bobcats.

She said they're now analyzing blood samples to learn more about the cats.