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Rodenticide has unintended risks to wildlife that eat rats and mice
The province is making permanent changes to the sale and usage of anticoagulant rodenticides, citing risks to wildlife that consume rats and mice.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy announced the decision Friday after an 18-month ban was established in July 2021.
Rodenticide has been a concern for wildlife advocates and community members in the South Island since at least 2020, when seven owls were discovered dead from suspected poisonings, according to coverage by the Times Colonist.
Habitat Acquisition Trust, a Victoria-based land and wildlife conservancy, said the anticoagulant poisons can take days to kill rodents, increasing the likelihood they will be consumed by an owl or raptor.
The ban is a step forward for conservation work, said Danielle Buckle, wildlife coordinator with HAT.
“It’s really great for stewardship, because instead of trying to convince people to stop using rodenticide, it’s officially banned,” she said, adding that barn owls—notorious for feeding on rodents—are considered threatened in the province.
“It’s one less thing to worry about when it comes to owls.”
Karl Swinscoe, owner and operator of Pestbusters Victoria, said pest control operators may now be more inclined to use snap traps to kill rats—a method he said is costly and comes with its own risks to wildlife like squirrels and birds.
“When rodenticide is used in accordance with regulations by a trained professional, it is safe,” he said.
The province will include the permanent prohibition in its updated pest management program set to be released in January.
The ministry said sectors considered essential—such as hospitals and food production—will be allowed to continue using second-generation rodenticides.