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Bobcat with 'severe mange' dies in Simi Valley; blood tests pending

Bobcat 332, an adult male that had been living in the Simi Hills since 2015, has died of severe mange. National Park Service video shows him in September 2016. He was found dead Dec. 19.

A bobcat in Simi Valley with a severe case of the skin disease mange has died, the National Park Service said Wednesday.

Bobcat 332, a 3-year-old male that Santa Monica Mountains park officials have been following since 2015, was found dead at the southern edge of the valley on Dec. 19, said park spokesman Zach Behrens.

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"Since we often see mange accompanied by rat poison in animals' systems, B-332's blood tests will be sent to a lab for analysis," he said in a statement.

Questions on the connection between Southern California wildlife suffering from the parasitic skin disease mange and rat poison were rekindled in 2014, when the majestic mountain lion P-22 was photographed with a severe case of the disease.

Mange also produces skin lesions and has contributed to the deaths of scores of bobcats and coyotes, The Times reported in 2014.

It's caused by a microscopic mite that burrows into the skin and causes itchiness and lesions. The afflicted animal loses fluids and nutrients through the skin. Complications including infection, starvation and hypothermia eventually lead to death.

The connection between exposure to anticoagulant rodenticide and mange is not fully understood, but many animals who have suffered from mange were also found to have eaten poisoned rats.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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