Study blames pot farms for poisoning spotted owls

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and the California Academy of Sciences tested 10 northern spotted owls found dead in the region. Seven of the owls tested positive for rat poison, used by pot farmers to keep rodents away from their irrigation systems and crops.”

“California officials argue that legalization will allow them to increase oversight and regulation of cannabis farms in fragile forests.”  Is there an opportunity here for California to work with Attorney General Sessions on federal lands since they have a shared interest?  Could the revived “war on drugs” lead to more money for the Forest Service?  (This is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but …)

(Another opportunity … for those cut-over private timberlands to improve their cashflow?  Not that this would be any better for the spotted owls, though rat poison would also work on barred owls attracted to the clearcuts.)

3 Comments

  1. Further study of these statistically inadequate research results indicate that your last sentence (“though rat poison would also work on barred owls attracted to the clearcuts”) needs to be clarified.

    The study results show the superiority of the BO’s use of more diverse foraging habitat in that only 40% of the BO’s were affected compared to 70% for NSO’s. The well established difference in foraging habitat of the two species would suggest that a statistically valid research design would probably come to a similar conclusion.

    All of this, after my review of over 65 NSO research pubs, only adds one more nail to the coffin of the NSO and, like so much other research, shows that in an age of “climate change” mankind is shooting the very owl that has a much superior chance of surviving no matter what nature or mankind throws at it.

    This is a case where “hands off” is appropriate and nature should be left to resolve this. Once again, some enviro’s have it “bass aackwards” in that they are focusing on human intervention to save a single species while demanding “hands off” in terms of focusing on providing for the sustainability of the site appropriate forest ecosystem that these and the preponderance of other species (from mankind to microbial) depend on.

    • Chances are, despite our efforts, the likely longterm outcome might be that a hybrid population replaces one or both species. Maybe a larger owl would better compete for nesting habitats with aggressive goshawks. It is still clear to me that the biggest danger is loss of nesting habitats. Owls and goshawks are notorious for being lazy at nest building. They depend on having multiple existing nests in their territories, to be ‘productive’ breeders.

  2. “California officials argue that legalization will allow them to increase oversight and regulation of cannabis farms in fragile forests.”
    I wonder whether California has thought about/guaranteed a mechanism for this to happen? It hasn’t happened in Colorado. I’d like to propose such a mechanism to our state if California has one.

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