Choose the right rat poi­son and keep our owls safe and healthy

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Letters -

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

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