LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday signed a bill into law banning certain toxic rat poisons, a move which environmental advocates hope will protect mountain lion populations living in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Assembly Bill 1788, the California Ecosystems Protection Act, was passed by the California Legislature Aug. 31 and signed into law this week, according to the Orange County Register.
It bans the use of what are known as “second generation anticoagulant rodenticides.”
According to the Center of Biological Diversity, the bill will put a moratorium on the use only the most toxic rat poisons until state agencies can implement protections to better protect wildlife from them. Less toxic rat poisons will still be allowed.
Rat poisons have been suspected in several mountain lion deaths in the Santa Monica Mountains over the past few years.
Last month, the National Parks Service reported that a bobcat and a mountain lion living in the Santa Monica Mountains had died from rat poisons. B-372, an adult female bobcat, was found dead in June and tested positive for three types of rat poisons. P-76, who was found dead in late January, was determined to have died from internal bleeding due to ingesting five types of rat poison.
Last October, NPS reported that two mountain lions, P-30 and P-53, also tested positive for a cocktail of anticoagulant rodenticides.
In May of 2019, NPS confirmed that P-47 had also likely died of rat poison.
Along with rat poisons, mountain lion populations in Southern California have become increasingly threatened by residential development, habitat loss, wildfires, inbreeding and isolation.
Researchers say mountain lion populations in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains could go extinct within the next 50 years. To help combat this, the California Department of Transportation is working on a plan to build an $87 million wildlife crossing along the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills.
In April, the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously voted to move forward with a process that would culminate with declaring mountain lions that roam Southern California and the Central Coast as an endangered species.