In December of 2012, an ailing great horned owl was found in Glen Park in San Francisco. Neighbors, who have proudly shared the park with a nesting pair of these owls for 10 years, rushed it to a wildlife rescue facility, where it was dead on arrival—killed by eating a poisoned rodent.
Just a month before, hikers found a dead mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles. It, too, had rodenticide in its body.
“d-CON Kills Mice and Rats,” the label screams. True enough. If it were totally honest, however, it would say, “d-CON Kills Mice, Rats, Owls, Bobcats, Foxes, Coyotes, Hawks, Cats, Dogs, and many other creatures.” Plus, it is estimated that d-CON and similar products poison as many as 60,000 children each year in the United States
Kids don’t often eat dead mice, but occasionally young children will pop anything they come across into their mouths.
The chemicals in question are anticoagulants. The target species—rats and mice—die from internal bleeding. When their carcasses are found and eaten by predators and scavengers, the poison is ingested as well, often causing injury or death.
This is why the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to yank the registration of a dozen d-CON rodenticide products in order to eliminate the collateral damage inflicted on wildlife, domestic pets and children.
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