THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) — A cocktail of rat poisons may have killed two mountain lions, which were found dead recently in the Santa Monica Mountains, National Park Service officials said Tuesday.
P-30, an approximately 6-year-old male mountain lion, was found dead in the Topanga area with no obvious signs of injury or trauma after his radio collar sent out a mortality signal on Sept. 9. A necropsy determined he had bled to death internally, with approximately five liters of unclotted blood found in his abdomen, and had severe hemorrhaging in his brain.
National Park Service biologists say P-30 tested positive for five different anticoagulant rodenticides. He is the fifth mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountain’s long-term study to die of rat poisoning.
“A wide range of predators can be exposed to these toxicants – everything from hawks and owls to bobcats, coyotes, foxes, and mountain lions,” Seth Riley, wildlife branch chief for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a statement. “Even if they don’t die directly from the anticoagulant effects, our research has shown that bobcats, for example, are suffering significant immune system impacts.”
Biologists found P-53 on Aug. 15 in Malibu. The approximately 4-year-old female’s body was badly decomposed, so a definitive cause of death has not been determined. But she also tested positive for four different compounds of anticoagulant rodenticide, park officials said.
P-53 was earlier this year treated for mange and looked to have recovered after being captured on remote video footage three months later.
National Park Service researchers have been studying mountain lions native to the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002 to understand how they survive in an increasingly urbanized region hemmed in by freeways and the Pacific Ocean.