Mountain lion killed in Calabasas was pregnant; toxins found in system

A mountain lion that was struck and killed by a vehicle earlier this year in Calabasas was pregnant with four kittens, according to the National Park Services - Santa Monica Mountains.  

The adult mountain lion, named P-54, was pregnant with two boys and two girls, biologists said.

All five mountain lions tested positive for rat poison, also known as anticoagulant rodenticides, officials stated. 

"This is the first time during our 20-year study that we've been able to test mountain lion fetuses for anticoagulant rodenticides," said Jeff Sikich, a biologist on the mountain lion project at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Officials say she had anticoagulant rodenticide compounds in her liver. P-54 was exposed to five different compounds, while her fetuses were exposed to three anticoagulant compounds.

"A primary goal of our work is to learn whatever we can about these animals and how their lives are affected by the urban landscape they inhabit. Unfortunately, we've learned that mountain lions are susceptible to rat poisons even before they are born," Sikich said

The 5-year-old cat was killed on Las Virgenes Road between Piuma Road and Mulholland Highway around 9:30 a.m. on June 17, 2022.

NPS says the top two sources of mortality for wildlife in the area are vehicles and toxicants.  

P-54 was born in January 2017; NPS researchers marked her with a tracking device as a kitten. P-54's mother was also struck and killed by a vehicle along Las Virgenes.