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They poison small mammals don't they?

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
May 5, 2006


It is accepted knowledge in the scientific community that we are now experiencing planet Earth's sixth great extinction event. Identified in 1982 by Raup and Sepkoski, previous extinction events are known as the Late Ordovician, Late Devonian, End Permian, Late Triassic, and End Cretaceous. Humanity is currently involved in the Holocene epoch extinction.

Those keeping track of extinction events would consider this one number 24.

In the past, extinctions were the result of the universe having its way with planet earth. Asteroids, volcanism, and glaciations usually factor in. This extinction, our extinction event, is caused by us, homo sapien sapien.

Perhaps it should be called the Homocene?

Human populations combined with the consumption of space and other natural resources is erasing biodiversity faster than evolution can keep up. The deforestation and mining of Borneo and Sumatra will be the demise of orangutan, Global warming will take the final toll of polar bears and coral reefs, hunting will mark the end of the snow leopard.

Science fact provides plenty of evidence that species are disappearing around us. People pressure is pushing biology to the brink, as habitat is cleared to meet the needs and wants of human beings. Failing to survive contact with humanity, hundreds of species go extinct on a daily basis. Because nothing is sacred nothing is safe.

Currently contractors hired by the city of Encinitas are doing their part to reduce coastal biodiversity, by poisoning wildlife at Beacons, a favorite surf spot in Leucadia. Doing the math, it would seem if wildlife is being poisoned at one Encinitas beach, wildlife is being poisoned at all Encinitas beaches as a matter of course, and a matter of convenience.

Making this an issue are Leucadia residents, and Beacon locals, alarmed by the sight of Dead and dying squirrels along the bluff. Neighbors talking amongst themselves have documented a kill zone that has claimed ravens, gulls, a hawk, a domestic cat, and a hawk. According to City staff PCQ Rodent pelleted bait, a.k.a. Diphacinone, is being used to control squirrels along the coast.

Approved and encouraged for use by the State of California, and approved and not discouraged for use by the Environmental Protection Agency Health threats to humans, include carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and acute toxicity. Highly regulated Diphacinone is considered one of the top three rodenticides in use.

Diphacinone is highly toxic to humans and other mammals by inhalation, dermal absorption, and ingestion. It causes internal hemorrhaging that can lead to death by inhibiting enzymes involved in blood clotting. Animals given lethal doses experience labored breathing, muscular weakness, excitability, fluid in the lungs, and irregular heartbeats.

Other signs of poisoning include spitting of blood, bloody urine or stools, internal hemorrhaging, and widespread bruising or bleeding into the joints. If a lethal dose does not cause immediate mortality, death tends to be delayed and due to massive hemorrhaging.

Besides being a barbaric and speciesist practice, applying rodenticides such as Diphacinone within reach of children, domestic pets, wildlife, and anybody of water is a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Contractors for the City of Encinitas are endangering Leucadians by misapplication of the toxic pellets.

Light green, with a sweet grainy smell, the poison pellets being scattered at public beaches attract more than the targeted squirrels. Foraging birds also succumb, as do predators that ingest stricken squirrels.

Talking to Parks and Recreation staff, I was told if residents would stop feeding the squirrels the city would stop poisoning them. When I asked if Encinitas residents were ever consulted about the use of highly toxic poisons at city parks and beaches, I was offered an incredulous "NO." Asked why there was no signs posted to warn beach goers of the threat posed by the anticoagulant carcinogen used to kill squirrels, I was offered a shrug.

Failure to post signs warning of the highly toxic chemical agent being applied violates state and federal law.

I wonder if I am the only one to see the irony of a city spending millions to clean surface runoff into the ocean, while concurrently spreading highly toxic pollutants at parks and beaches within the city.

Killing squirrels to placate municipal monkeys, is living life on the edge, Dodo style.

Rodenticide anyone?

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