The Friends of Griffith Park said Thursday it is urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to enact an emergency moratorium on the use of second-generation anticoagulant poisons after the recently confirmed rat-poison death of a female, juvenile great horned owl near the park.
“This is more than just an isolated incident of an owl or other raptor succumbing to rat poisons,” said Dan Cooper of Cooper Ecological Monitoring and the scientific adviser for Friends of Griffith Park and the Griffith Park Raptor Survey.
“Bobcats, mountain lions, gray foxes and coyotes are well-documented victims of rodenticides in our local urban wildlife.”
The friends group, along with numerous organizations across the state, said they are hoping for the passage of Assembly Bill 1788, which would ban the sale of second-generation rodenticides. The friends group said the bill came close to passing before being shelved due to COVID-19 priorities.
The members of the Friends of Griffith Park said they are “deeply concerned” about this issue now because there is a lack of consumer information about the poisons.
“In California, both the legislation and the Department of Pesticide Regulation reevaluation concerning the use of anticoagulants is currently sidelined,” Friends of Griffith Park President Gerry Hans said. “The only recourse available to the public … is to call upon Gov. Gavin Newsom to enact an emergency moratorium on the use of these products now until the DPR completes its evaluation. We shouldn’t wait.”
The members said they are also concerned about repeating the mistakes made with the use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, also known as DDT, which was used for three decades.
DDT was eventually found to imperil many species, particularly birds such as the bald eagle and peregrine falcon and also many aquatic species.
Even though it was banned in 1972, California condors were still failing to reproduce in the wild due to thin egg shells well into this century.
Anticoagulants are ubiquitous across the animal kingdom, just like DDT, according to the friends group. Studies show the poisons are also present in invertebrates, such as snail and insects, fish, ungulates and reptiles.
Great horned owls and barn owls have routinely been found dead in Griffith Park and its vicinity by city park rangers, hikers and residents. Last month, the friends group decided to fund a necropsy of a great horned owl found by a resident of Beachwood Canyon, near Griffith Park.
The necropsy was completed at UC Davis, and the friends group said it has tested numerous dead wildlife found in or close to Griffith Park over the years, all returning positive results for anticoagulant rodenticides.