Navigation Links
Illegal marijuana grows threaten fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada
Date:6/27/2013

FRESNO, Calif.Rat poison used on illegal marijuana grows is killing fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada, according to a recent study conducted by a team of scientists from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW), University of California, Davis, University of California, Berkeley, and the Integral Ecology Research Center.

A previous study published last summer by the research team documented that rodenticides were being found in the tissues of the cat-sized, weasel-like critters which live in rugged portions of the southern Sierra Nevada. The authors speculated that the most likely source of the poisons was the illegal marijuana grows found throughout the Sierra Nevada. This new study solidifies that link, documenting that female fishers who live in areas with a higher number of marijuana sites had more exposure to rodenticides, and subsequently had lower survival rates. The findings concern scientists because the fisher is a candidate for listing under federal, Oregon, and California endangered species acts, and is considered a sensitive species in the western United States by the U.S. Forest Service.

The researchers deduced that illegal marijuana grows are a likely source of the poison, because the fishers in this study were radio-tracked and many were not observed venturing into rural, urban or agricultural areas where rodenticides are often used legally. Illegal marijuana cultivation on public lands is widespread, and some growers apply large quantities of numerous pesticides to deter a wide range of animals and insects from encroaching on their crops. While the exposure of wildlife to rodenticides and insecticides near agricultural fields is not uncommon, the amount and variety of poisons found at the illegal marijuana plots is a new threat.

According to co-author PSW wildlife biologist Dr. Kathryn Purcell, "exposure of wildlife to pesticides has been widely documented, but this is a fundamentally different scenario.

"In marijuana cultivation sites, regulations regarding proper use of pesticides are completely ignored and multiple compounds are used to target any and all threats to the crop, including compounds illegal in the U.S.," she says.

While some fishers have died from either directly consuming flavored rodenticides or by consuming prey that had recently ingested the poisons, exposure may also predispose animals to dying from other causes. Exposure to lower dosesor to combinationsof the poisons, results in slower reflexes, reduced ability to heal from injuries, and neurological impairment. Consequently, this leads to death from other sources, such as predation or road kill.

Fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada are highly susceptible to pesticide exposure because, unlike their larger bodied relatives in other parts of the country that eat larger prey, their diet consists of small mammals, birds, carrion, insects, fungi, and other plant material. In the vicinity of illegal marijuana sites, numerous dead or dying insects and small mammals are often found. In this study, scientists reported on the amount of poisons found at over 300 illegal plots and compared the locations of these sites with the home ranges and survival of 46 adult female fishers.

The conservation implications of this study are far-reaching.

"By increasing the number of animals that die from supposedly natural causes, these pesticides may be tipping the balance of recovery for fishers" says Dr. Craig Thompson, a PSW wildlife ecologist and the study's lead author.

This new threat may also impact other species already facing declining populations, including the wolverine, marten, great gray owl, California spotted owl, and Sierra Nevada red fox, which may also be exposed to the poisons, say the scientists.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sherri Eng
sleng@fs.fed.us
510-559-6327
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Southwest Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Soda and illegal drugs cause similar damage to teeth
2. International regulation curbs illegal trade of caviar
3. Surge in children accidentally eating marijuana-laced foods
4. Medbox Positions Itself as the Leader on Wall Street in the Legalized Marijuana Industry
5. Colorado Marijuana Task Force Gives Green Light To "Pot Tourism"
6. Medbox Partners with Bio-Tech Medical Software to Create Nations Safest Prescription Drug and Medical Marijuana Distribution System
7. Medbox, Inc. Releases Demo Video and Collateral Media Concerning How Their Systems Will Be Used in Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
8. Study implicates marijuana use in pregnancy problems
9. Scripps research scientists find anticonvulsant drug helps marijuana smokers kick the habit
10. How marijuana impairs memory
11. New palm-sized microarray technique grows 1,200 individual cultures of microbes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/22/2016)... DUBLIN , January 22, 2016 ... has announced the addition of the  ... to their offering. --> ... of the  "Global Behavioral Biometric Market ... --> Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... JOSE, Calif. , Jan. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... developer of human interface solutions, today announced sampling ... controller solution for wearables and small screen applications ... such as printers. Supporting round and rectangular shapes, ... S1423 offers excellent performance with moisture on screen, ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... Jan. 11, 2016 Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: ... today announced that its ClearPad ® TouchView ™ ... won two separate categories in the 8 th ... Best Technology Breakthrough. The Synaptics ® TDDI solution ... supply chain, thinner devices, brighter displays and borderless designs. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Spectra BioPharma Selling Solutions ... that provides biopharma companies the experience, expertise, operational ... deploy outsourced sales teams. Created in concert with ... both the strategic and tactical needs of its ... solutions through both personal and non-personal promotion. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016   BioInformant ... report, "Stem Cell Research Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies ... ... in the stem cell industry, BioInformant has more than ... the stem cell market, by stem cell type. This ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , February 10, 2016 Early-career researchers ... Peru , Uganda and ... work in health and nutrition   Indonesia , ... Uganda and Yemen are being honored ... epidemiology. They are also celebrated for mentoring young women scientists who are ...
(Date:2/10/2016)...  IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical technology ... applications for the treatment of prostate, brain, lung, head ... results for the second quarter and six months of ... --> --> Revenue was ... which ended December 31, 2015, a 12% increase compared ...
Breaking Biology Technology: