Two mountain lions have been found dead in the Santa Monica Mountains, with the of death the 6-year-old male known as P-30 attributed to rodent poison, the National Park Service said Tuesday.
The cause of death of the 4-year-old female known as P-53 was undetermined because her carcass was too decomposed, but similar poisons were also found in her.
Those rodenticides have been found in 23 of the 24 local mountain lions tested, including a 3-month-old kitten, according to the park service.
“Just about every mountain lion we’ve tested throughout our study has had exposure to these poisons, generally multiple compounds and often at high levels,” said Seth Riley, a park service ecologist, in a news release.
“A wide range of predators can be exposed to these toxicants – everything from hawks and owls to bobcats, coyotes, foxes, and mountain lions. 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 located P-30’s carcass in Topanga State Park on Sept. 9 after his radio collar sent out a mortality signal indicating he may have died. There were no visible signs of injury or trauma but a necropsy determined he bled to death internally.
“The report documented that he had severe hemorrhaging in his brain and abdominal cavity,” according to the park service release. “Approximately five liters of unclotted blood was found in his abdomen.”
Five different anticoagulant rodenticides were found in P-30, who is the fifth mountain lion determined to have died from the poisons since the park service began studying the animals in 2002.
The lions typically ingest the poisons second- or third-hand, eating either the rodents who’ve digested the bait or animals that ate the rodents, according to the park service.
The carcass of female P-53 was found by biologists in Malibu on Aug. 15. While the body was too decayed to determine a cause of death, four types of rodenticide were found in her liver.
P-53 had been captured in February and treated for mange, which exposure to the poisons may have caused. Of the five mountain lions with mange in the park service study, all had rodenticides in their systems, including the Griffith Park mountain lion known as P-22.