Real irony is a difficult thing to find in the real world as it’s often times confused with coincidence. “The rats are killing the mountain lions,” might be the best example of an unfortunately sad bit of irony you’ll hear this week. According to realtor.com, the Dos Vientos region of California has seen an increase in the death of mountain lions as a direct result of the poison being used to kill the rats they eat.
The Los Angeles Times reported in another piece that the Dos Vientos Ranch Community Association spends $40,000 a year on rat extermination/control, which isn’t a lot when you consider total property management revenue in the U.S. was about $69 billion in 2014. Up until December this past year one of the ways they were going about doing it was by using a rat poison called anticoagulant.
This specific poison kills the rats by causing internal bleeding. When mountain lions and other predators eat the rats that have eaten the poison, it’s been found that they ultimately die too.
This story started to gain attention when a couple of hikers happened upon a dying mountain lion on the outskirts of Dos Vientos and posted pictures to Facebook, which eventually went somewhat viral.
“It just stared at us with eyes that seemed to say, ‘Look what you guys did to me,’” Marlin told the L.A. Times.
Anecdotal evidence is not the only thing spurring this story, though. Scientists have confirmed that anticoagulants kill thousands of predators around the state. In fact, it even happened to a marked one named P-34.
The Dos Vientos HOA points to the fact that they’ve stopped using the product in question, but that hasn’t stopped private licensed exterminators across the state from continuing the practice, as the poison is legal to use. The story is out, and now it’s up to local and state community members to decide if it’s time to try and enact specific legislation to help prevent this from happening further.