Dale Belvedere, with the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre, treated three great horned owls for suspected rat poisoning in 2018. (Mark Brett/Black Press Media file photo)

Dale Belvedere, with the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre, treated three great horned owls for suspected rat poisoning in 2018. (Mark Brett/Black Press Media file photo)

Rodenticide ban finding traction in B.C. communities

Advocacy movement hopes other municipalities follow Salmon Arm’s lead

Deanna Pfeifer wanted to spend more time in nature.

After retiring as a nurse in 2019, she wanted to get outdoors, where her travels led her to observe an owl near her Saanich home on Vancouver Island.

She watched it, photographed it and videotaped it, then one day she discovered the owl dead on the ground below its familiar perch.

“It was a morning under perfect conditions… there were no feathers around, no sign of injury,” Pheifer recalled in an interview with Black Press Media.

“I wanted to find out what happened to it, and that led me to learn it died from rat poisoning, and that led to me to where I am now advocating for a ban on rodenticides and alternative ways to control rodent problems besides using these poisons.”

Pfeifer has joined a group connected through social media taking up the rodenticide ban, having already talked with the provincial agriculture and environment cabinet ministers, and circulating a petition to convince municipal councils to adopt the ban.

READ MORE: Potential impact on raptors influences Salmon Arm rotenticide ban decision

READ MORE: Penticton letter – Poisoning rats a bad idea

In the Okanagan-Shuswap region, the City of Salmon Arm council has taken that step, becoming the first municipality outside of the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island to adopt the ban.

“We applaud the City of Salmon Arm for making progressive and humane pest control a priority for local wildlife and community members,” said Dr. Sara Dubois, the BC SPCA’s chief scientific officer.

Pfeifer says research science data collection is clearly showing how rodent poison control measures are being introduced into the food chain thereby affecting other animals.

“In my area, seven raptors were found dead last year, and they are dying from eating poisoned rodents,” she said.

“Dogs and cats can even get infected if exposing themselves to a poisoned rodent, and it can cost $5,000 to $10,000 to treat your pet if that happens.

“Pest control (using poisons) is not cheap and is temporary. It doesn’t deal with the problem which becomes never-ending.”

She said a poisoned rat dies a slow, painful death after being poisoned, one which leaves them vulnerable to other wildlife who feed on rodents, and in doing so consume the same poison infecting the rat.

“If anything they become even more toxic because they continue to eat the bait because they are hungry.”

Pfeifer cites a research study in Santa Monica, Calif., where it was discovered mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes and foxes were all found to have rodenticide residue in their bodies.

“It has a lethal effect on an animal’s immune system,” she said.

Pfeifer argues there are more human practices for solving rodent problems, noting the ministry of agriculture is currently testing one of those strategies on farms as a pilot project.

New companies are also popping up which market themselves on using humane treatments practices to deal with rodent infestations.

She points to Humane Solutions, a company developing CatchData, a new trap technology that provides a poison-free method for managing rodent populations by providing instant, automated kills. Besides being eco-friendly the technology provides actual data so the need for control measures can be assessed and addressed rather than ambiguously applied.

“We believe this is a game-changer for the industry,” she said.

“There are easy alternative options to using rodenticides and we are hoping the minister of environment acts very soon to recognize that.”

For tips on how to rodent-proof your home, check out https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/getting-rid-rodents.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A group of youth in Kelowna's Knox Mountain Park are suspected as having violated the B.C. Wildlife Act by harassing a pair of nesting bald eagles with a drone Friday, April 16, 2021. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Nesting bald eagles harassed by youth-piloted drone in Kelowna

Conservation Officers are hoping to hear from anyone who witnessed the Knox Mountain incident

Nick Clements captured a photo of the Northern Lights over Oyama Friday night, April 16, 2021. (Nick Clements photo)
PHOTOS: Northern Lights colour Okanagan night

Residents saw the dazzling green aurora borealis throughout the valley Friday night

Vernon's spring leaf pickup program is underway. (File photo)
Vernon rakes up residents’ bagged leaves

Pickup this week, must be in clear plastic bags

Coldstream students took over the Your Letters page in the April 9, 2021, edition of the Vernon Morning Star to offer advice to adults about COVID-19. Interior Health took notice and offered their praise. (Vernon Morning Star)
Coldstream students’ COVID advice praised by Interior Health

Grade 2 and 3 classes from Coldstream Elementary took over the Morning Star’s Letters page April 9

Vernon Girl Guide Mabel Smith sells cookies to staff at Watkin Motors Ford prior to the suspension of sales. (Facebook Photo)
Vernon Ford dealership shines with diamond award, again

Watkin Motors earns Ford of Canada president’s award for superior customer service

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over in surgical unit of Vernon hospital

The outbreak affected four staff, 10 patients and led to three deaths in just over two weeks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Most Read