Avian flu has now spread to a second species, says the California Department of Wildlife.
CDFW health experts have confirmed that the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1, a strain of the virus typically found in birds, was detected in two mountain lions in December 2022 and January 2023.
Experts suspect that the disease caused the deaths of both mountain lions, though additional disease testing is being conducted. This is California’s second wild mammal species to contract avian flu since July 2022. The virus is suspected of being transmitted to the two mountain lions after they fed on infected birds. Biologists noted that the mountain lions had previously preyed on wild Canada geese.
Wildlife biologist Brian Ehler with the CDFW confirmed avian flu was rampant in Lassen as infected birds were discovered at Emerson and Eagle Lake.
Plumas county also had the disease in wild birds at Lake Davis.
If you have had close contact with sick or dead birds (wild or domesticated) or surfaces contaminated by them, it is recommended that you monitor your health for ten days after you were last exposed. If you get sick, contact a healthcare provider and report the bird to the appropriate entity.
You are asked to report dead wildlife using CDFW’s mortality reporting form.