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Check out these beautiful, super-rare photos of mountain lions up close

A bit *too* close.


The United States’ National Park Service in Santa Monica recently released these rare photos of a 15-month-old female mountain lion cub, called P-33, feeding with her mother (P-19) and brother (P-32).

Cute names, aren’t they?

The images capture a rare glimpse of these majestic, large cats in their natural habitat doing what they do best: surviving.

16559336457_bdddc0e36a_o Source: National Park Service

16579239960_eb43dd3958_o Source: National Park Service

WARNING: If you’re squeamish, then admire this cub photobombing the camera but don’t scroll down.

If you’re even the slightest bit curious what it’s like to live in the wild, then continue on.

16144309314_57bb84a4af_o Source: National Park Service

These wild mountain lions live in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in southern California. The National Park Service has dispatched a number of motion-sensor-activated cameras throughout the region to observe mountain lions and other animals in the wild.

The mountain lion is the largest wildcat in North America and mainly dine on mammals like deer, squirrels, and beavers.

Here, the family has come across a freshly killed deer.

16146736853_e14f993408_o Source: National Park Service

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16765491831_e0d0af3a6c_o Source: National Park Service

The collar on the male-cub is to help biologists track his location, but the device is designed to fall off of him as he matures into adulthood.

Occasionally, the cats take a minute away from their meal to check out the cameras watching them.

These carnivorous cats sit at the top of the food chain, but are threatened by habitat loss and hunted for their dangers they pose to livestock.

16740753966_2f68293456_k Source: National Park Service

- Jessica Orwig

Read: How dogs are being used to save wild animals in Africa >

More: Ridiculed Chinese zoo that disguised dog as lion forced to close >

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