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California mountain lion discovery highlights cub's "uncanny" survival skills

A discovery in a LA nursery isP-39's kitten
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Posted at 1:45 PM, May 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-07 16:58:27-04

(KGTV)--A young mountain lion discovered in a San Fernando Valley nursery last Friday was determined to be the surviving cub of P-39, a cougar that perished last December while trying to cross a freeway.

P-39 was the mother of three six-month-old kittens, including P-50 -- the cub located May 5 in Chatsworth.

At the time of her passing, it was believed the three wouldn't survive since cubs usually stay with their mothers for up to the first two years of their lives. In fact, P-50's two siblings did perish following their P-39's death. 

"Unfortunately it's unlikely that the kittens have developed the hunting skills to survive without their mom," Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area biologist Jeff Sikich said at the time. 

That's why it was so exciting when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife discovered a small ear tag after tranquilizing P-50. 

"The whereabouts of [P-50] were unknown until now," the department posted on Facebook. 

The post indicated P-50 is healthy, in good shape and had successfully learned how to hunt small mammals. 

"Although it's not entirely surprising, this story is a great example of the innate survival instinct that mountain lions possess," said CDFW environmental scientist Rebecca Barboza. "Wild animals are adaptable and have an uncanny ability to survive in these types of situations." 

What's next for P-50? He's been released to a more suitable habitat in the Santa Susana Mountains. 

Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy