'Super-toxic' Rat Poisons Killing BC's Rare Barn Owls, Other Wildlife

Conservation & Preservation


The Tyee

Owls are bleeding to death slowly and agonizingly. The culprit: extra-potent rodenticides poisoning wild animal food chains. Part one of two.

By: By Robert McClure, 13 December 2010, InvestigateWest


With the spooky glow of his headlamp illuminating an antenna in his hand, Paul Levesque stalks one of Canada's last remaining barn owls.

"Are you getting anything?" research team leader Sofi Hindmarch asks over a walkie-talkie.

"I got it!" Levesque responds. Then a few seconds later, dejected, he radios back: "No. I lost the signal."

Working in darkness, with the quarter-moon obscured by clouds, these two scientists are trying to figure out what an elusive, radio-collared owl is eating along this country road just beyond the suburbs that ring Vancouver. Their mission is to determine whether the decline of Canada's barn owl is tied, in part, to super-toxic rat poisons.

Scientists know that at least some owls are dying under gruesome circumstances, bleeding to death from stomach hemorrhages in an agonizing and days-long decline. The culprit: An extra-potent class of rat poisons that has flooded the market in recent decades, designed to more effectively kill rats, a food source for the owls.

View full article and comments: http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/12/13/BarnOwls/  Part 1 of 2

Read part 2 here




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