Many will have seen a video on Facebook today of a gopher hemorrhaging and dying in spasms above ground at the Crawford Bay Park. Mainstreet very recently wrote and published an article (coming up in the May paper) after hearing about the application of Rozol RTU to suppress the gopher population at the park, but only spoke to the pest control operator, and didn’t get a thorough investigation of the poison and its ramifications done in time for print.

Con Murphy from Cranbrook Pest Control spoke to Mainstreet about the safety of the chemicals, how they break down and are not dangerous to secondary and non-target animals, how the target animals die after “going to sleep” below ground and it is the most humane way to deal with them.

Photo of dying gopher (also known as ground squirrel) by Lea Belcourt. Belcourt was alerted to the situation by two birds of prey (raven and vulture) being attracted to the dying animal.

The video posted by Lea Belcourt from this morning (April 29, 2019) seems to show otherwise. As the gopher was dying, there were, reportedly, two birds of prey waiting and watching. Can anyone say with certainty that they would not have been impacted by the ingested poisons?

What are your thoughts about this? What other methods might have been better used? How do you feel about the inherent damage caused by these animals to infrastructure and green space versus eliminating or decreasing their population through such means?

In a phone interview with Mainstreet, John Edwards of the Hall and Parks board expressed great concern about the situation and said that the board is in conversation as how to deal with the fact that these animals are dying above ground and the ramifications of the poisoning. He said that they have been removing some of these chemical pellets from surface level (where the animals have likely pulled it up with them when they emerged from their tunnels) as well as removing carcasses as they appeared. He stated that they intend to put signage up around the impacted area to inform the public of the risks. The hall and parks board will likely issue a public statement soon.

2 Responses

  1. Maybe the birds won’t die from ingesting this one poisoned gopher, but the poison is probably building up in their systems. (and when the birds die, whatever animal or fish eats the carcass will retain some poisonous residues. Eventually it the food chain reaches humans . . . )

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