A mountain lion from Griffith Park was found in March to be suffering from a parasitic disease due to its contact with rodenticide, according to wildlife experts from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA).
The news of the mountain lion’s poisoning has heightened attention on the use of rodenticides throughout Southern California’s mountain regions. Malibu recently became one of the cities leading the charge against rodenticide use. Under pressure from the Malibu Agricultural Society last year, the City Council passed an ordinance discouraging the use of rodenticides in Malibu and banning it from use by city staff.
The mountain lion, P-22, was discovered to have mange, a parasitic disease of the hair and skin, after being captured in late March by biologists seeking to replace the battery in his GPS collar. Later tests of blood samples from P-22 by the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab at UC Davis proved positive for diphacinone and chlorophacinone, compounds found in rodenticides.
“Anti-coagulant rodenticides are designed to kill rodents by thinning the blood and preventing clotting,” said Dr. Seth Riley, an urban wildlife expert at the SMMNRA.
Riley added, “when people put these bait traps outside their homes or businesses, they may not realize that the poison works its way up the food chain, becoming more lethal as the dose accumulates in larger animals.”
Biologists at the SMMNRA have treated P-22 with selamectin, a topical treatment; however, it is unclear whether the mountain lion will fully recover.
P-22 became “famous” after he appeared in a photo with the Hollywood sign in the December 2013 issue of National Geographic Magazine. He is also most likely a native of the Santa Monica Mountains, with biologists believing the mountain lion crossed both the 405 and 101 Freeways to get from the place of his birth to Griffith Park.