The 300th bobcat was captured recently as part of the National Park Sevice's longest-running study about the felines.
The study, which started in 1996, studies the impact of urbanization on bobcats' behavior and survival in the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills. As part of the study, biologists capture and sedate the bobcats, affix radio collars, record measurements and take blood and tissue samples for analysis.
The majority of the 300 bobcats in the study were captured in the communities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills.
“One of the most striking findings from this study is the discovery of a deadly mange epidemic, as well as a correlated exposure to anti-coagulant rat poisons,” said Joanne Moriarty, an ecologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Mange, which is caused by a microscopic parasitic mite, is a severe skin condition that can lead to death in bobcats. The disease was first detected in 2001 by researchers from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
The disease peaked between 2003 and 2006 in the Simi Hills area, when more than 50 percent of bobcats being monitored by radio collars died from the condition.
Ten years later, bobcats seem to be remerging and researchers are continuing to study the impact of ingested rat poison on the felines.
Recently, the CVS store in Malibu took rat poison off its shelves.