Choose the right rat poison and keep our owls safe and healthy
Your choice of rat poison means life or death to owls.
As reported in the Times, the Shire hosted a presentation last Friday on owls found in the region and the threat posed by mice and rat poisons.
This is an important conservation message for the whole community.
Boobooks, tawny frogmouths, and masked and barn owls are well established in our forests and farmlands. All of these night predators help control non-native mice and rats.
PhD researcher at Edith Cowan University Michael Lohr presented his alarming finding most rodenticides sold in our stores are so-called “secondgeneration” anticoagulant poisons which are debilitating and often lethal when transmitted to our owls — as well as to other night predators such as the chudditch and birds of prey.
The new poisons still take time to kill off their targets and in that time, the mice and rats can consume multiple lethal doses, which are then passed on to the owls. Pets are also at risk.
Mr Lohr is lobbying the regulators who can control and ban these poisons, as many countries have already done. It is best to use other methods.
If a poison is to be used, buy those containing warfarin and coumatetralyl as the active constituent. Ratsak Double Strength is a warfarin product and Racumin is a coumatetralyl product. Don’t use those with brodifacoum and bromodialone, eg Talon, Mortein, Ratsak Fast Action, Pestoff Rodent Bait 20R, and Klerat. Alternatively, cholecalciferol is not an anticoagulant but an overdose of vitamin D. It will kill anticoagulant- resistant rodents but is unlikely to accumulate in non-target wildlife.
More information can be found on the Nature Conservation Margaret River region website.
Boyd Wykes, chairman, Nature Conservation Margaret River