The two 10-month-old mountain lion cubs caught by a remote camera feeding on a mule deer carcass in Malibu Creek State Park last week provided welcome relief to researchers who hadn't seen them since they were just 3 weeks old.

Biologist Jeff Sikich with the National Park Service called the cubs, designated P-30 and P-28, "nice and fat."

"Mom seems to be finding deer and prey for them," he said.

Four years ago, "Mom" was hailed by the Park Service as an unknown mountain lion discovered in the Hidden Valley area of the Santa Monica Mountains.

The female lion was named P-13 and captured, collared and released by staff from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

At the time, P-13 was thought to be at least 1 year old.

The remote camera has captured more than 350 high-quality images of P-13 and her cubs as they fed on a mule deer last week in Malibu Creek State Park.

The images of her offspring came from a remote camera at the feeding site. Sikich said the animals were curious about the sound of the camera's shutter and didn't seem to mind the flash.

To date, a Park Service team has captured and collared more than 30 cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains during research that began more than a decade ago.

In the Aug. 11, 2009, news release about the discovery of P-13, the Park Service said mountain lions face substantial challenges in the Santa Monica Mountains.

When one mountain lion in 2009 successfully crossed Highway 101 at Liberty Canyon, it was hailed as an unprecedented event in the study.

Mountain lions have a range up to 250 square miles and need space to find enough food.

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