WEED FEED / John Ross Ferrara / Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 @ 8:35 a.m.

Weed Feed: Seven of 10 Northern Spotted Owls Test Positive for Rat Poison From Marijuana Grows, Study Finds

Northern Spotted Owls | U.S. Forest Service.

Rat poison from illegal marijuana grows is working its way up the food chain and harming the federally endangered northern spotted owl, according to a study put out by UC Davis last week.

The report states that seven out of 10 Northern spotted owls that were found dead in the Emerald Triangle and analyzed for the study tested positive for high levels of rat poison.

Jack Dumbacher with the owl collection at the California Academy of Sciences. (2017 California Academy of Sciences) | Photos provided by UC Davis.

Lead author Mourad Gabriel, a research faculty member with the UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, said in a UC Davis press release that spotted owls often feed along forest edges, which can be unnaturally created marijuana grow clearings. 

UC Davis.

“When you have thousands of unpermitted grows and only a handful of biologists that regulate that for multiple counties, we’re deeply concerned that there aren’t sufficient conservation protective measures in place,” Gabriel is quoted as saying in the press release. “If no one is investigating the level at which private marijuana cultivators are placing chemicals out there, the fragmented forest landscapes created by these sites can serve as source points of exposure for owls and other wildlife.”

Mourad Gabriel.

Gabriel is also responsible for the research in 2012, 2013 and 2015 which linked rat poison from marijuana grows in to the deaths of fishers in Humboldt County.

The Hoopa Valley Tribe and Humboldt State University also coauthored the study.


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