The mountain lion known as P-22 looked majestic just a few months ago, in a trail-camera photo shot against the backdrop of the Hollywood sign.
But when a remote camera in Griffith Park captured an image of the puma more recently, it showed a thinner and mangy animal. Scientists sedated him and drew blood samples. They found evidence of exposure to rat poisons.
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.
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