October 16 from 7-9 p.m. at the Donald Bruce Kaufman – Brentwood Branch Library
By Keldine Hull
Last week National Park (NPS) officials confirmed that two mountain lions, P-30 and P-53, were found dead in the Santa Monica Mountains, both the rat poison in their systems. At the Brentwood Community Council meeting this Wednesday, wildlife biologist Cathy Schoonmaker will discuss non-toxic vector and wildlife control to address a growing issue.
“On September 9, biologists hiked into Topanga State Park to look for P-30 after his radio collar sent out a mortality signal. He was found dead with no obvious signs of injury or trauma,” NPS said in a statement. “His carcass was collected and a necropsy by the California Animal Health & Food Safety (CAHFS) Laboratory field office in San Bernardino revealed that he bled to death internally. The report documented that he had severe hemorrhaging in his brain and abdominal cavity. Approximately five liters of unclotted blood was found in his abdomen.”
P-53, a four- year old female mountain lion, was too decomposed by the time biologists found her body on August 15 in Malibu to determine a cause of death. Testing, however, identified compounds of anticoagulant rodenticide in her liver.
“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 ecologist and Wildlife Branch Chief for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) Seth Riley in a statement. “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.”
News of P-30 and P-53’s death comes months after the loss of other large cats in the NPS study. P-38, a male mountain lion, died from a gunshot wound to the head in early July. P-61, a four- year old mountain lion, was struck and killed by a vehicle while attempting to cross the 405 freeway in September. B-363, an adult male bobcat caught earlier this year, was killed by a vehicle on Kanan Road last month.
According to the NPS, the recent deaths highlight the potentially deadly obstacles mountain lions face in the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounding areas.
The BCC meeting will take Wednesday, October 16 from 7-9 p.m. at the Donald Bruce Kaufman – Brentwood Branch Library.