A new study reveals insights into mountain lion family life, and also recommends delaying cougar-hunting season to reduce the number of orphaned kittens.

Scientists studying wild cougars, also known as mountain lions, in northwest Wyoming have been given a glimpse into the secret, snuggling social lives of the big cats’ families.

A recent den study conducted by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project analyzed the comings and goings of hard-working and affectionate mountain lion mothers using motion-triggered video cameras and collars that track the cats’ location using GPS. They learned new details about kittens’ lives inside the den and how intensely their mothers care for them. Scientists hope the insights—and awwww-inspiring video clips—might help protect vulnerable kittens from hunting.

Mountain lions are also called cougars, pumas, and catamounts—these all refer to the same cat species, Puma concolor. Based on the study’s observations, after giving

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