Restricting Rat Poison Could Have Saved Coyote Pup
The recent death of a coyote pup at the Animal Rescue Team in Santa Ynez, Calif., gave another heartbreaking face to the problems with using poison to kill rodents.
While rodenticide poisons are commonly used to control “pests” at both residences and commercial operations, their use has continued to raise concerns about their inhumane nature and the deadly effects they have in cases of secondary poisoning.
The poisons used, typically anti-coagulant rodenticides (ARs), lead to a horrific death for their victims who eventually die of internal bleeding. Second generation poisons are extremely toxic and can kill with one dose, but it may take several days before signs start showing. Before then, victims are more vulnerable to dying of other injuries that may have otherwise been minor or predation.
Problems with these poisons moving up the food chain when other animals prey on victims have been well documented and are causing serious problems for wildlife.
The facility’s Director Julia Di Sieno told NewsChannel 3 that this was the third coyote to die this month as a result of rodent poison.
In this pups case, she was left to suffer as a shadow of what a young and healthy coyote should be. She was down to skin and bones with barely any hair covering her small body as a result of contracting mange. Coyotes who eat poisoned rodents may not die of poisoning, but as a result of diseases they become more vulnerable due to a weakened immune system.
Unfortunately, coyotes aren’t the only species who are falling victim to ARs. They’ve been known to kill pets and other wild animals, including endangered species, such as the San Joaquin kit fox, Northern spotted owl and Bald eagles. Researchers also recently discovered that rare populations of Pacific fishers were being killed by rodenticides used at marijuana growing sites near Redwood National Park and in the southern Sierra Nevada in and around Yosemite National Park.
Di Sieno said that 60% of the suspicious cases that are sent to a lab at the University of California, Davis come back testing positive for rodenticide or pesticides poisoning.
While conservationists have been campaigning to get these deadly poisons off of store shelves and urging the state to do something about this problem, California is currently considering restricting these chemicals and pulling them from store shelves.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation is considering a proposal to restrict the use of second generation ARs to licensed professionals to reduce unintended exposures and believes that licensed users are more likely to use alternatives before resorting to the use of pesticides, which will further help protect wildlife.
Please sign and share the petition urging the Department of Pesticide Regulation to restrict the sale and use of these toxic poisons.
Photo credit: Thinkstock