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Two mountain lion kittens who died after they were found at a southern California office park tested positive for rat poison, the National Park Service reported.
According to necropsy results reported Wednesday by the Park Service, Cubs P-100 and P-102 were found to have three types of rat poison in their systems. They were also emaciated and suffered from inflammation of their brains and feline parvovirus. Parvo is highly contagious and can cause feline panleukopenia and death, particularly in young kittens.
Cubs P-100 and P-102 died a short time after they were found. P-101 and P-103 survived and are now living in the Orange County Zoo.
Although researchers have been studying mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area since 2002, the kittens provided them with unique information.
“This is the first time a mountain lion in the park’s 20-year study has been affected by parvo, and these two kittens are the youngest mountain lions in the study to have anticoagulant rodenticides in their system,” biologist Jeff Sikich, who’s in charge of fieldwork for the study, said in a statement.
Officials told The Los Angeles Times that the kittens “died of abandonment; a major cause of their emaciated condition postmortem was the lack of care from their mother.”
An office worker discovered the litter and contacted wildlife officials. He was told to leave the kittens be in the hope that they would return to the open space and reunite with their mother.
Source: Huff Post