Santa Cruz County

Wildlife rescuers: Bobcat in Santa Cruz County sickened by rat poison

Mother Bobcat dies from rat poison.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - A wildlife rescue organization says they rescued a mother bobcat believed to have been sickened by rodenticide.

Wildlife Emergency Services rescued the animal in Santa Cruz County and rushed it to a wildlife center in San Jose for emergency treatment.

According to Rebecca Dmytryk of WES, there currently aren't any veterinarians or wildlife hospitals in Santa Cruz County willing to treat injured or ill adult predator species.

She said the bobcat showed classic signs of anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning. Predator species are exposed to anticoagulant chemicals when they consume rodents that have eaten second generation anti-coagulant rodenticide – found in most rodent bait stations - the plastic boxes commonly found alongside residential and commercial buildings.

"Those contain chemicals that will kill mice and rats the problem is those mice and rats are then eaten by predator species or dogs and cats and so it's a huge problem," she said.

Earlier this year, California banned sales of super-toxic rat poison or rodenticide - because, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, it affects 70 percent of wildlife species. However, the use of these poisons remains legal for licensed pest control operators.

Now the race is on for Dmytryk to find the bobcat's kitten and save it, but again -- the problem is that there is nowhere in Santa Cruz County where they can take it.

"When we pick animals that are critical in the field and need an IV immediately, like the cat yesterday, there's nobody here," said Dmytryk.

Veterinarians need a special license to handle wildlife species and Dmytryk says it can cost a lot of money to care for these predators. Money is a major issue for her organization, which comprises 20 volunteers and is funded by donations

"The people expect help, they need help and they deserve help so we've got to figure that out at least in Santa Cruz County, we have to figure out 24/7 wildlife emergency services," she said.

She hopes to be able to connect with Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, which provides animal control services for the county, on a contractual basis. For now, she operates out of her home.

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