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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Protecting Nontarget Wildlife from Effects of Vertebrate Pesticides

  • Author(s): McMillin, Stella C.
  • et al.

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) recognizes the need for the availability of a variety of tools for vertebrate pest control and has a strong interest in ensuring that these tools are used in a way that minimizes impacts to nontarget wildlife. From 1992 to 2011, the DFG has investigated 44 cases of wildlife kills caused by vertebrate pesticides, resulting in the loss of 258 animals. While anticoagulant rodenticides were responsible for the loss of the highest number of incidents, incidents involving acute toxicants, such as strychnine and zinc phosphide, typically involved a greater number of animals per incident. Incidents of intentional poisoning of wildlife usually involved strychnine. There were no documented losses due to fumigants; however, such incidents are likely to go unnoticed because the carcasses remain underground.

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