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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a mountain lion that managed to cross a Southern California freeway and make its home in the mountains north of Los Angeles had rat poison in his system when he was found dead.

The lion dubbed P-41 was found in October after a wildfire burned part of his range.

Researchers first wondered if the fire contributed to his death.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area announced Tuesday that P-41 had six compounds of a rodenticide in his system. It’s unclear if that caused his death.

Researchers say P-41 may have eaten a squirrel or other animal that ingested the poison, or snacked on a coyote or other predator that ate tainted prey.

The National Park Service has found poison compounds in 14 local cougars, including a kitten.


This version corrects in the headline that rat poison was found in the mountain lion’s body, not that it killed the lion.