A PLACE CALLED HOPE IS WORKING TO SAVE CT’S BIRDS OF PREY
When Christine Cummings, a CT rehabilitator opened a rehab facility in Killingworth, CT in 2007 and named it A PLACE CALLED HOPE, hope is what she believed she could offer the wildlife in her care, specifically raptors. But she found herself up against a pervasive, unrelenting poison – Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides, SGARs, killing a lot of that hope and so many of the raptors brought to her for treatment. It was more than disheartening, it was deadly, and to many more than its intended target.
Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides are killing CT’s hawks, owls, falcons, and other raptors - and their offspring - at an alarming rate. They were originally formulated to kill rodents like rats and mice, squirrels,chipmunks, and other small mammals, but these rodents are the main food source of most raptors. If a mother owl feeds a poisoned mouse or rat to her baby owlet, it will kill the baby in an excruciating manner. SGARs are anti-coagulants; the babies and whatever raptor consumes the rodents, will bleed out from the inside, a slow, painful death.
This happens almost daily to the raptors cared for by Christine Cummings, her staff and volunteers at A PLACE CALLED HOPE in Killingworth, CT. It’s especially egregious when there’s an easily accessible, viable alternative to rodenticides, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), https://ipm.ucanr.edu/what-is-ipm/ a process to solve the problem while minimizing risks to people, pets and the environment.
Although the ability for consumers to purchase SGARs in consumer markets is prohibited, these rodenticides can still be easily purchased online. This insidious toxin continues to be marketed as safe for the environment, your pets and you. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Each year the ASPCA issues a list of the top 10 poisons for your pets. Rodenticides always make the list. The ingredients in SGARs that make it so appealing to rodents unfortunately have the same effect on your cats and dogs, causing bleeding, kidney failure, seizures and sometimes death. If you use SGARs in your house or garden to kill rodents and your pet consumes that rodent, the likelihood of death is very real.
Christine Cumings and A Place Called Hope’s ultimate goal is to rescue, rehabilitate and release each bird back into the wild whenever possible. SGAR poisoning has substantially reduced the number of these magnificent creatures able to be released back to the wild. She’s rarely able to save them. You can hear the passion in Cummings’ voice when she talks about the loss of raptors, “We owe it to our children, domesticated pets, and our wildlife to start with a complete ban on the deadliest of these poisons, Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides. From where I stand, as I physically cradle a secondarily poisoned hawk, falcon, or owl victim in hand, I am outraged. This unnecessary suffering is shameful when there are alternative solutions readily available. Consumers will dictate the demand, so make your voice heard and PLEASE BAN RODENTICIDES.”
For additional info about A Place Called Hope and Christine’s fight to save her raptors from this deadly toxin, go to: https://www.aplacecalledhoperaptors.com/
THE LEGISLATIVE ANGLE: 2024 IS THE YEAR
Legislation is needed to put a stop to the use of Second Generation Anti-coagulant Rodenticides (SGARS), a multi chemical poison used by commercial pest control companies and others, to kill rodents. 2024 will be the third-year animal and environmental organizations advocate for a statutory authority to ban the use of these poisons, which kill more than their intended target in a gruesome and incredibly inhumane way. The proposal is simple: impose an immediate ban on the sale and use of SGARs (brodifacoum, bromodialone, difenacoum and difethialone) throughout CT. The ban also will extend to the internet sale of SGARs but provide necessary exceptions to ensure public health. California initiated a successful program to ban the sale and use of SGARs which provides a successful model for implementation.