Friday, 18 April 2014

Rat Poison Harms Famous California Cougar

By Becky Oskin, Senior Writer | April 17, 2014 03:37pm ET

A California mountain lion known for a famous photo beneath the Hollywood sign is now suffering from mange after ingesting rat poison, the National Park Service said.

Credit: National Park Service
In December 2013, the then healthy male cougar, known as P-22, was featured in a National Geographic magazine photo spread. The 4-year-old cat was prowling the Santa Monica Mountains' chaparral-clad foothills and canyons, hunting mule deer and the occasional coyote, and photographer Steve Winter snapped P-22 crossing below the infamous white letters.

But just three months later, P-22 was thinner and mangy, with skin lesions and crusts, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday (April 16). Blood samples collected from P-22 in late March confirm the cougar was exposed to anti-coagulant rodenticide, or rat poison, park ranger Kate Kuykendall wrote on Facebook. The poison thins the blood and prevents clotting. Park Service biologists gave P-22 a shot of Vitamin K to counteract the poison's effects, along with a topical treatment for mange.

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