May 8 (UPI) -- California wildlife officials said a young mountain lion feared dead after the deaths of its mother and siblings turned up alive and healthy at a garden center.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said officers responded to a report of a young mountain lion in a plant nursery Friday in Chatsworth and they quickly tranquilized the big cat.
The officers discovered the cougar had a small ear tag identifying it as P50, one of three kittens born to a mountain lion known to wildlife officials as P39.
The young male had been missing since its mother was killed by a car in December 2016. Officials said P39's other two 7-to-8-month-old kittens were also later found killed in vehicle strikes.
Officials expressed excitement at finding P50 alive.
"Although it's not entirely surprising, this story is a great example of the innate survival instinct that mountain lions possess," CDFW wildlife environmental scientist Rebecca Barboza. "Wild animals are adaptable and have an uncanny ability to survive in these types of situations."
Officials said the mountain lion was given a brief physical examination that determined he was in good health before he was moved to a habitat in the Santa Susana Mountains.
The mountain lion was seen walking away his own after recovering from the tranquilizer and evidence at the scene suggests he was successfully hunting small mammals, officials said.