According to findings published in the journal Conservation of Biology and Biology, owls living in remote forests in Northern California are being poisoned from an uncertain source on plantation farms. illegal marijuana.
A team led by Dr. Mourad W Gabriel, University of California Davis, discovered that owls were exposed to highly toxic rodenticides (AR) , commonly known as rat poison . Of the 84 owls collected, 40% tested positive for one or more AR types. Among the owls that are very rare in the North, this rate is 70%.
Based on eight years of research by Gabriel and colleagues, there is no doubt that the source of these deadly substances in the middle of the wilderness is uninhabited by cannabis farmers .
The Northern spotted spot has recently been listed as endangered and in need of conservation.
"We have discovered a new lethal threat to these endangered species, which many conservationists have had to save for decades," Dr. Gabriel told Los Angeles. fix their extinction. '
Although the marijuana industry has been on a downward trend in California since Prop 64 came into effect, areas of both public and private forests in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte provinces and Trinity has been used for secret cultivation of this plant for at least the past 30 years. When changing the landscape to adapt to their crops, farmers create adjacent forest areas. This type of environment is very attractive to many animals.
In order to protect crops from starving animals that they inadvertently attract, farmers sprinkle large amounts of ARs or similar AR onto the farm because of their similar taste. peanut butter. This group of compounds causes animals to bleed internally to death by interfering with the creation of coagulation factors.
The amount of rat poison obtained from an illegal development site was found by law enforcement officials and Dr. Gabriel's team.
In 2015, Dr. Gabriel's team published a study related to rodenticides in a farming area, where the deaths of many fishermen occurred. Fishermen eat small rodents that have been poisoned by AR before they are eaten by larger predators, spreading toxins to the food chain.
These findings are particularly sad because, like fishermen, the northern spotted spot population has declined significantly since the early 20th century after the destruction and fragmentation of habitats.
Because of the protected status of this population, the researchers collected their corpses outside the farm.Striped owls have been used as "spot substitutes" because they compete with spotted owls for territory and food. So even though only 10 spotted owls are collected, it is likely that they will be infected with AR at the same rate as the striped owl.
Study co-authored Jack Dumbacher and the 5th collection at the California Academy of Sciences.
Interestingly, when examining the corpses of northern spotted owls, it was found that they did not die directly from AR poisoning , because if they died of this poison the tissue samples were taken. Striped owls collected from living specimens must also be near death. However, the authors speculate that the effects of even low-level poisoning may make the mottled recovery more difficult.
Juvenile owl north.(John P Dumbacher © 2017 California Academy of Sciences).
Mourad's team also has evidence that AR is leading to the deaths of butterflies, mountain lions, young wolves and bears, showing that the careless actions of illegal marijuana growers not only affect some species, but also to the forest ecosystem.