Rat poisons proving deadly for barn owls
The dangers of rat poison are being highlighted by a spate of dead owls in Vancouver, Canada.
The widely available, but extremely dangerous, poisons are threatening the lives of birds and owls – a problem that is occurring the world over.
Sofi Hindmarch, a scholar specialising in barn owl habitat, from Simon Fraser University in Fraser Island, Vancouver, advised homeowners to limit the use of these poisons as they were putting barn owls at serious risk.
“Try to apply them in closed areas, consider safer alternatives such as old-fashioned traps, and clean up garbage and other attractants that entice rats,” she added.
Once the poison has been laid, rats and mice may eat it and then may not die for some time, meaning they are easy targets for owls and birds, who eat them – and in turn ingest the deadly poison.
A study carried out by Environment Canada revealed that, out of 164 barn, barred, and great horned owls from British Columbia, more than 70 per cent of them had traces of rat poison in their livers.
Of that 70 per cent, over 41 per cent of the owls' livers contained more than one rat poison.