Poisons on public lands killing rare forest creatures

UCD researcher Mourad Gabriel with a sedated fisher. Poisons being used on public lands are killing rare animals. (Courtesy UC Davis)

Here’s the link to the story. I wonder if this poison also impacts other carnivorous avian and mammalian species?
Below is an excerpt.

Rat poison used on illegal marijuana farms may be sickening and killing the fisher, a rare forest carnivore that makes its home in some of the most remote areas of California, according to a team of researchers led UC Davis veterinary scientists.

Researchers discovered commercial rodenticide in dead fishers in Humboldt County near Redwood National Park and in the southern Sierra Nevada in and around Yosemite National Park. The study, published July 13 in the journal PLoS ONE, says illegal marijuana farms are a likely source. Some marijuana growers apply the poisons to deter a wide range of animals from encroaching on their crops.

Fishers in California, Oregon and Washington have been declared a candidate species for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Fishers, a member of the weasel family, likely become exposed to the rat poison when eating animals that have ingested it. The fishers also may consume rodenticides directly, drawn by the bacon, cheese and peanut butter “flavorizers” that manufacturers add to the poisons. Other species, including martens, spotted owls, and Sierra Nevada red foxes, may be at risk from the poison, as well.

In addition to UCD, the study involved researchers from the nonprofit Integral Ecology Research Center, UC Berkeley, United States Forest Service, Wildlife Conservation Society, Hoopa Tribal Forestry, and California Department of Fish and Game

8 thoughts on “Poisons on public lands killing rare forest creatures”

  1. I wonder if this poison also impacts other carnivorous avian and mammalian species?

    Yes it does, anticoagulant rodenticides are stored in tissue leaving secondary consumers such as raptors, terrestrial carnivores or even carrion eaters like vultures to be potentially exposed.

  2. It seems like many endangered wildlife species (like spotted owls, grizzly bear, wolves, lynx) but hopefully aren’t living around marijuana plantations.

    • Unfortunately, many of these species like spotted owls, great gray owls, martens, Sierra Nevada red foxes, the new wolf in California, all live within or overlap the fishers current range in the state. Therefore all of them since they share the same prey are at risk of being exposed to these toxicants.

  3. Maybe this is an ISSUE WE CAN ALL AGREE ON- public safety, recreation and wildlife are all lined up.. how about Coalition Against Marijuana on Public Land? We could lobby for more law enforcement $$..

    • I hope you mean “Coalition Against Growing Marijuana on Public Land.” For those of us who remember the “sixties” it would be a shame to come out against smoking a little weed to enhance recreation pleasures. 🙂

    • Perhaps we can all agree that growing marijuana on public land is a bad idea. I don’t think more money for law enforcement will solve the problem though. The “war on drugs” has been an abject failure in so many ways. Let’s make it legal and tax the heck out of it.

      • That’s a good point. Perhaps the things we agree are problems are pieces of BIG problems, outside our natural resource/public land “circle of influence”. Which may
        leaves us passionately debating over which deck chair to move where (600 acre commercial thinning, anyone?) while the ship is sinking. Just a thought.


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