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Daily News Blog

31
Jul

Famous Mountain Lion Known to Cross California Freeway Found Dead from Suspected Rodenticide Poisoning

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2018) P-55, a mountain lion, famous for crossing Southern California’s notorious 101 Freeway, has died of causes biologists suspect are related to rodenticide poisoning, according to the National Park Service (NPS). The radio collar strapped to P-55, aged 3, failed to transmit that the animal has died, and, when biologists found him, his remains were too decomposed to determine the exact cause of death. NPS officials indicate that there are two likely scenarios that lead to the death of a healthy mountain lion: a fight with another male, or poisoning from rodenticides. Although decomposed, officials indicate there were no signs of a struggle where his body was found.

This is the latest incident in Southern California linking rodenticide use to the poisoning of mountain lions. In 2014, it was reported that another mountain lion in the region, P-22, also famous for its propensity to roam near Griffith Park’s Hollywood sign, was nearly killed from mange and poisoning brought on by rodenticide exposure.

Despite policies passed at the state and local level, secondary poisoning of non-target predators by rodenticides still poses a risk to wildlife. In 2014, California Governor Brown signed AB 2657, which banned the use of anticoagulant rodenticides in state parks, wildlife refuges, and conservation land. According to the Bay-area group Raptors are the Solution, nearly 30 communities throughout the state have also adopted policies that stop community-wide use of anticoagulant rodenticides and/or encourage businesses, homeowners, and other residents to not sell or use these products.

Prior to P-55’s death, another mountain lion, P-41, in the Verdugo Mountains, was also found dead. While its body was also too decomposed to determine exact cause of death, lab results detected six pesticides, including both first and second generation anticoagulant rodenticides in its liver.

Mountain lions can be exposed to rodenticides by eating animals that recently fed on poisoned pellets or bait, such as squirrels, woodrats, or other prey. The effects of these pesticides, which cause blood thinning and prevent blood clotting, can be passed to predators like the mountain lion when they feed on contaminated animals. These chemicals do not kill prey quickly, allowing them to feed on poisoned bait multiple times, meaning their bodies can contain residues many times the lethal dose. Both predators and prey exposed to sublethal doses of rodenticides can become lethargic, are more likely to be hit by cars, and are more susceptible to other diseases.

Help protect wildlife from unnecessary poisoning by stopping the use of rodenticides around your home or business, and encouraging your neighbors to do the same. To address rodents like mice, squirrels, or gophers without toxic chemicals, see Beyond Pesticides ManageSafe webpage. Residents in California can get active in this issue by working to pass policies restricting rodenticide use. Contact Beyond Pesticides at [email protected] or reach out to local groups like Raptors are the Solution for assistance.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: National Park Service, Star-Telegram

 

 

 

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  • Archives

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