A “newer generation” of incredibly toxic rat poisons have been responsible for killing hundreds of owls and other wildlife in the United States, Canada and Europe, according to a host of studies on both continents. These pesticides can kill with just one dose, but death isn’t swift or clean – the animals may “stagger about, dazed but not yet dead,” for days, writes reporter Robert McClure in an in-depth series of articles written for Environmental Health News and Investigate West.
The poisons prevent blood from clotting, causing the targeted rodents – and any other animals that feed upon them – to slowly bleed to death.
The poisons prevent blood from clotting, causing the targeted rodents – and any other animals that feed upon them – to slowly bleed to death. Wildlife ranging from coyotes to foxes, from owls to kestrels, and even songbirds, squirrels and deer, have been impacted by careless applications of these poisons. And humans are impacted as well – McClure reports that more than 10,000 kids get hold of these “super-toxic rat poisons” every year, sending many to the emergency room with dangerous bleeding or other symptoms. Some new restrictions on sales and applications of these poisons are scheduled to come on line next year.
But one poison of this type, known as Rozol, is currently approved to kill wild prairie dogs. Rozol also threatens the many wildlife species that depend on prairie dogs, including already endangered black-footed ferrets, swift foxes, owls, eagles and other raptors. Defenders has gone to court to persuade the Environmental Protection Agency to bar use of Rozol on prairie dogs. And this year, Defenders and other organizations helped save a large prairie dog colony in Wyoming from poisoning by relocating them to a protected area within Thunder Basin National Grassland.