A wildlife advocacy group on Thursday praised the city of Los Angeles’ decision to stop using second-general anti-coagulant rat poison, which can also harm animals further up in the food chain, including mountain lions and coyotes.
The Department of Recreation and Parks recently phased out the use of second-generation rodenticide — used for controlling pests — at its more than 400 city parks and nature areas. Because of Los Angeles County requirements, the city still uses a less toxic, first-generation rodenticide to control the ground squirrel population.
A report delivered by Department of Recreation and Parks officials to the City Council’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee earlier this week included the information that the department has stopped using second- generation anti-coagulants.
Alison Simard, chair of Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife, or CLAW, celebrated the news.
“Wildlife is the barometer of the health of our environment,” she said.
“We are delighted by this bold response to citizens’ concerns and look forward to continue to work with the city of Los Angeles to educate residents about the horrible effects of using anticoagulant poison — especially those who live in hillsides and near open spaces and parks.”
Council members asked for a report on rat poisons last year after CLAW expressed concern that rodenticides were harming larger animals such as cougars, bobcats, coyotes, hawks and owls.
A mountain lion named P-22 was found suffering from mange in April. Laurel Serieys, a UCLA biologists who studied the urban wildlife in the Santa Monica Mountains, including the eastward movement of a mountain lion in Griffith Park, told council members at the time that rodenticides can compromise the immune systems of wildlife, leading to mange in some.
Rodenticide cause animals to become emaciated and eventually leading to death, according to Serieys.
Serieys said 80 percent of bobcats, mountain lions and coyotes are exposed at some point to anti-coagulants in their lifetime, and rodents that consume the poisons can travel great distances before becoming a meal.
Second-generation anti-coagulant rodenticides cannot be sold to the general public in California, but such poisons can still be purchased by licensed pest control companies and government agencies.
— City News Service
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