In a world where animals are often seen as nothing but nuisances to ‘manage’ or ‘control’, we are proud to offer coexistence strategies to minimize unwanted interactions. Often, these solutions are quite simple; it is the attitudes that are hard to change.
In the case of rodents, this is particularly true. Unfortunately, the cataclysmic effect of poisoning rodents is not always seen by those who put down the pellets.
In the January/February 2013 edition of Audobon magazine, journalist Ted Williams explored this phenomenon. His article’s introduction described sitting with a veterinarian as she viewed files from numerous necropsies she had performed. This scene alone, told with a talented writer’s voice, could be sufficient to end the use of poison:
“Each image was, in her word and my perception, ‘sadder’ than the last. There was the great horned owl with a hematoma running the length of its left wing; the red-tailed hawk’s body cavity glistening with unclotted blood; sundry raptors with pools of blood under dissected skin; the redtail with a hematoma that had ballooned its left eye to 10 times normal size; and, ‘saddest of all,’ the redtail with an egg. The well-developed blood vessels in her oviducts had ruptured, and she had slowly bled to death from the inside.”
But Williams went more in-depth, exploring the “second-generation” of death that is wreaked by rodenticides and the critical impact it has on the wildlife of North America.
It is not an easy story to read for those who love wildlife. But it is an important story to read – and to share – for it offers us another look into how human attempts at “controlling” wildlife very rarely end well for nature, and for us.
Photo Credit: GNFUDL, Roger McLassues