Sunday, February 21, 2010

Calif. cougar dies from injuries received from another cat

Mountain lion found near Santa Paula dies of injuries

By Adam Foxman
Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:02 p.m. , updated February 19, 2010 at 11:10 p.m.

A severely injured mountain lion captured north of Sulphur Springs and Santa Paula on Thursday was given to a wildlife rescue organization, but the big cat died while in transit to a veterinary clinic, the organization's director said Friday.

"By the time we got it there, it actually expired in the car," said Patty Perry, director of Moorpark-based Wildlife & Environmental Conservation Inc. "Because of its age and the injuries it sustained, it was a very difficult situation."

At the All Animals Medical Center in Calabasas, Dr. Attila Molnar determined the female lion was old enough to be considered geriatric, and her injuries likely resulted from an attack by another mountain lion, Perry said.

"She had multiple bite marks all over her," Perry said. Lacerations, apparently from claws, were also found on the lion, she said.

The lion's teeth were worn, and she was thin — about 40 pounds, Perry said. Female mountain lions can weigh up to 60 pounds.

Ventura County Animal Regulation officials initially speculated the lion might have been injured by a car, but they did not inspect it closely, said Monica Nolan, the agency's director.

Animal Regulation officers trapped the injured lion with a catch loop Thursday afternoon near Tinsley Mountain and Sulphur Mountain roads soon after they arrived on the scene, officials said. The animal was moving slowly because of its injuries.

After getting approval from the state Fish and Game Department, Animal Regulation officials handed the injured mountain lion over to the Moorpark group. Organization volunteer Larry Bertram drove the animal to the Calabasas veterinary clinic, Perry said.

While officials weren't able to save the lion, Nolan said, they were able to work out an agreement with Fish and Game that should streamline the process of handing animals over to the group in the future.


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