Rat poison from marijuana farms appears to be sickening and possibly killing owls, fouling wildlife habitat and allowing rodents to spread contamination through large swaths of Northern California’s most famous cannabis-growing region, University of California researchers said in a report published Thursday.
Rodenticide was found in seven of 10 northern spotted owls and 34 of 84 barred owls tested between 2006 and 2016 near marijuana plantations in Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties. Both species are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The Study, by UC Davis and the California Academy of Sciences, is the first account of deadly rodenticide in northern spotted owls, a redwood tree-loving bird that is listed as a threatened species under the federal and state Endangered Species acts.
Large quantities of rat poison were previously found in the weasel-like creatures known as Pacific fishers, which also live in the Emerald Triangle marijuana-growing region.