CENTRAL COAST, Calif. - Local wildlife rescuers say they are alarmed at the increasing number of sick bobcats being found in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.
The bobcats are suffering from notoedric mange, a parasitic skin disease caused by exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides, or rat poisons.
As they prey almost exclusively on rodents, bobcats are most at risk for being poisoned when homeowners or professional pest control operators choose to use anticoagulant rodenticides to control rodent pests.
Earlier this month, Wildlife Emergency Services in Moss Landing say they recovered a bobcat showing signs of anticoagulant poisoning from a home in Aptos. She died at a wildlife three hospital days later.
Click here to see video of the Aptos bobcat.
Yesterday, rescuers were notified about a mother and kitten both suffering from mange at Elkhorn Slough. The kitten was captured and transported, but the mother ran off.
And today WES is trying to trap a sick bobcat at Wilder Ranch.
Officials are now urging the public to use effective, non-toxic methods of rodent control that do not endanger bobcats and other rodent predators. Some counties in Southern California have experienced a complete loss of bobcats from open space due to the use of toxic rat poisons.
For a list of non-toxic alternatives, click here.