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Skin disease reported as cause of death for mountain lion in Santa Monica Mountains research study

National Park Service
Researchers say a form of mange killed a mountain lion which was part of a Santa Monica Mountains study.

But, necropsy shows that exposure to rodenticides may have been a contributing factor in death.

A necropsy shows that a mountain lion which was part of an ongoing research study in the Santa Monica Mountains died as the result of a contagious skin disease.

The big cat known as P-65 was found dead near a stream in the mountains in March. Biologists say she had a severe case of mange, which is caused by a mite parasite. But, they think that the mountain lion’s exposure to multiple types of rat poison might have weakened her immune system, and contributed to her death.

The mountain lion was captured by researchers in 2018, and was given a checkup, and a radio collar to track her movements.

P-65 was part of a decades long study by National Park Service biologists intended to help us learn more about mountain lions. She was believed to be around five years old at the time of her death.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.