Scientists working with the University of California recently took to investigating how rat poisons typically used by people who illegally grow marijuana impact of the wellbeing of the fisher population in this country.
For those unaware, fishers are a species of rodents belonging to the weasel family.
These animals are presently facing extinction, and the fact that more often than not they end up ingesting poisons which were supposed to keep off other species does not really help them in their battle for survival.
This new research, published in the journal PloS ONE, argues that fishers, red foxes
and other such similar carnivorous mammals presently living in California's national parks have been displaying signs of poisoning for quite some time now.
More precisely, out of 58 fishers whose carcasses were analyzed for research purposes, 96% were found to have been exposed to a highly toxic rodenticide, which is known for killing the animal that ingested it.
Given the fact that said national parks are by no means close to urban areas or agricultural lands – where one might expect poisons to be used by people and, therefore, eventually make their way into the environment – the scientists had no choice but to conclude that such chemical compounds found in remote parts of the country are quite likely to come from illegal marijuana farms. UC Davis
quotes Mourad, the lead author of this study, who argues that: “Our findings were very surprising since non-target poisoning from these chemicals is typically seen in wildlife in urban or agricultural settings.”
As he further goes on to explain: “In California, fishers inhabit mature forests within the national forest, national parks, private industrial and tribal community lands – nowhere near urban or agricultural areas.”
Although up until recently illegal marijuana farms were something only state authorities had to bother with, it now seems that said farms are beginning to take their toll on California's remaining natural ecosystems.
This means that environmentalists and conservationists might also soon get involved in finding ways to deal with this issue.