According to a recent study by veterinary scientists at the University of California, Davis, rat poison used by marijuana growers California (and probably elsewhere) is killing the fisher, a rather rare forest carnivore. The researchers have found rodenticide in fisher carcasses found all around the state, including in and near national parks.
"Our findings were very surprising since non-target poisoning from these chemicals is typically seen in wildlife in urban or agricultural settings," said lead author Mourad Gabriel, a UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory researcher and president of the Integral Ecology Research Center.
"In California, fishers inhabit mature forests within the national forest, national parks, private industrial and tribal community lands nowhere near urban or agricultural areas," explained Gabriel.
Fishers are likely to be exposed to the rat poison when they eat animals that have ingested it. Fishers also may consume rodenticides directly, drawn by the bacon, cheese and peanut butter flavors that manufacturers add to the poisons to attract animals.
Other carnivorous species, including martens, spotted owls, and Sierra Nevada red foxes, also may be at risk from the poison.
Is this yet another argument in favor of legalizing marijuana? Maybe. I don't know (it's something we've covered elsewhere. See: Legalizing Marijuana in California Could Be Good for the Environment and Massive 75,000 Acre California Wildfire Caused by Marijuana Farm). But the facts remain that there is illegal agriculture in and near national parks, and this causes lots of poison to be indiscriminately spread around those areas, harming wildlife. That's certainly not good.