Three Mountain Lions Found Dead in Recent Weeks

P-34, who made headlines last December, was discovered dead due to rat poisoning Sept. 30

12-19-14-mountain lion sherry kempster newbury park
Sherry Kempster

Three young mountain lions have been found dead in the Santa Monica Mountains in recent weeks.

One of the cats, known as P-34 by researchers, died from rat poisoning on Sept. 30 on a trail in Point Mugu State Park, according to a news release from the National Park Service.

The deaths illustrate the difficulty these large carnivores face surviving into adulthood "in urbanized areas and fragmented landscapes," the statement said.

"If you're a mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains, this is just not an easy place to grow up," said Seth Riley, wildlife ecologist for the National Park Service. "From our roads to rat poisons to potentially increased interactions with other mountains lions, it is very difficult for young animals to make it to adulthood, establish their own home range and reproduce."

The National Park Service has documented widespread exposure to rat poison by wildlife around the Santa Monica Mountains.

Two other mountain lions and many coyotes have died as a result to rat poisoning, and the poisons have been associated with a severe disease epidemic in bobcats, officials said.

P-34 made headlines last December after she was found walking alongside a woman's backyard wall in Ventura County. Her sibling, P-32, was struck and killed by a car on Interstate 5 in August.

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