Environment

Illegal Pot Farms In California Are Causing This Forest Animal To Disappear

Death by poisoning of the fisher has soared to more than 200%.

Cannabis may be an excellent herb to use for medicinal, industrial, cosmetic, and spiritual purposes, but the illegal farming of it in California is poisoning the fisher, causing its numbers to drastically decline.

The animal, a member of the weasel family, is not only hunted for its fur, it’s being poisoned by illegal marijuana farms in the drought-stricken state, reports TreeHugger.

According to a study recently published in the journal PLOS One, fishers have become victim to increased poisoning deaths, with a 233% increase since 2012. The toxicants to blame are from illegal marijuana farms tucked into public and tribal lands in Northern and Southern California.

The study looked at the deaths of 167 fishers, which revealed that poisoning accounted for 10% of all fisher deaths. Interestingly, 85% of all fishers were found to have been exposed to rat poison, and generally the exposure was to multiple types of poison. In two cases, never-before-seen rodent poisons (cholecalciferol and bromethalin) were to blame

Previous studies have shown that rat poisons were found in the tissues of fishers when they were nearby illicit pot farms in Northern California and the southern Sierra Nevada.

Credit:

Credit: wdfw.wa.gov

Said Dr. Craig Thompson, a wildlife ecologist and one of the authors of the study:

“We know that a 10 percent change in mortality rate is enough to determine whether fishers in California are able to expand their population size or not. Now we know that rodenticide poisoning alone is enough to keep fisher populations suppressed in the state, even without accounting for the fact that low doses of these poisons also cause the animals to be lethargic and susceptible to disease, which in turn increases the potential for other sources of mortality.”

Fishers may soon be put on the list in California, Washington and Oregon as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Meanwhile, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has listed fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act.

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