This is P-22, a mountain lion who has been living in L.A.’s Griffith Park for about two years. When Times reporter Martha Groves wrote about him in October, he was a healthy animal. The photo above was taken in March, after he’d been captured so he could be treated for mange. (Scientists learned he had the condition thanks to an image taken by a remote camera.)
After he was captured, P-22 was sedated and blood samples were taken; they showed evidence of exposure to rat poison. From Groves’ latest report:
Now, researchers say they suspect a link between the poisons and the mange, a parasitic skin disease that causes crusting and skin lesions and has contributed to the deaths of scores of bobcats and coyotes. A National Park Service biologist applied a topical treatment for mange and injected Vitamin K to offset the effects of poisoning.
The condition of California’s famous cougar is likely to intensify the debate over the use of rat poisons in areas of the state where urban living collides with nature.
There have been efforts to discourage the use of so-called “second-generation” rodenticides in California, and recently the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation moved to disallow their sale to the general public. But P-22 was afflicted by two older “first-generation” rat poisons, Groves notes.
Below, P-22 in happier times:
Photo: National Park Service. Video: Los Angeles Times