The mountain lions of the Santa Monica Mountains of California are already struggling. The roads and freeways that crisscross their territory have cut their habitat into small patches of land. In order to find a mate, the big cats have to brave the roadways to get to other areas but sadly many of them don't survive. The Santa Monica pumas are so endangered that the government is in the process of creating special wildlife crossing that will help them cross freeways safely.
But while the uncontrolled fragmentation of mountain lion habitat could spell the end of the species in the area over time, the animals face an even more deadly and urgent threat.
Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) are poisons aimed at killing animals like rats and mice. The poison, which causes the animal to hemorrhage to death is a painful and cruel way to die. But these poisons, used in the wild, rarely just affect their intended targets. A rat that's been poisoned and dies in the woods, can easily become a meal for a larger predator, killing it as well. And that is exactly what is happening to the mountain lions of the Santa Monica mountains.
Cats are being found dead, and when given a necropsy, officials have found them poisoned with SGARS. In fact, according to the National Park Service, since 2002, researchers have found SGARS in 23 out of 24 lions. The most recent tragic death is that of P-30 a six-year-old male lion that was found dead in Topanga State Park. When officials examined his corpse they found that the animal had bled out, with over 5 liters of uncoagulated blood and five different types of anticoagulant poisons.
These deaths are senseless. The endangered southern California mountain lion population needs protection from these dangerous poisons that kill indiscriminately. But politicians must take action. That's where you come in. There is currently a bill sitting in Senate Appropriations Committee that could ban SGARs from use in California, except for very specific situations. If passed, the law, California Ecosystems Protection Act AKA( AB 1788) could help save mountain lions and other animals from an inhumane death. Unfortunately, officials haven't voted on it yet. That's unacceptable. Tell California lawmakers to pass AB 1788 now and help save California's iconic big cats.