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Griffith Park puma released after being treated for mange and rat poison

National Park Service

Known simply as P-22, the scraggly puma found in California’s Griffith Park has been diagnosed as having mange, as well as traces of rat poison in his blood

"In general, we don't have a lot of information on lions and mange, but in bobcats, at least, we've seen statistically, a very strong correlation between exposure to rodenticides and mange," stated National Park Service researcher Seth Riley, after the big cat was captured for treatment."Virtually, every mountain lion that we've tested (11 of the 12, including P-22), have all been exposed to rodenticides."

He also noted that local bobcat population has been devastated during the past 2 years from mange tied to anticoagulant compounds found in rat poison, prompting the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to limit the sale of certain rodenticides to licensed users. However, none of these match the compounds found in P-22’s bloodstream. In any case, wildlife biologists Joanne Moriarty and Jeff Sikich stated that despite his poor appearance, the big cat seemed relatively healthy, and were able to treat him by using 6 tubes of selamectin, (a topical parasiticide commonly used to kill mites, fleas and ticks in pet dogs and cats)m as well as an injection of Vitamin K to counteract the rat poison, most likely ingested after dining on rodents that had already eaten it..

The scientists then placed a GPS collar on the puma before releasing him. It is believed that he was born in the Santa Monica mountains, and were curious about how he managed to arrive at Griffith Park considering he had to cross two major freeways to get there.

Pumas (aka cougars and mountain lions) are the fourth largest felines in the world, and range from the Yukon down to the Andes; California to Maine, and virtually all states in between both north and south. Adult males generally measure about 8’ long and weight between 115-220 lbs., while females measure about 6.7-feet nose to tail, weighing 64-141 lbs. Average lifespan in the wild is said to be 8-13 years, though cats as old as 18 and 30 have been documented.