North Cowichan has banned the use of anticoagulant rodenticides in all properties owned by the municipality. (File photo)

North Cowichan has banned the use of anticoagulant rodenticides in all properties owned by the municipality. (File photo)

Vancouver Island community bans use of rat poisons in municipal properties

Report indicates rodenticides can be consumed by non-target species

North Cowichan has decided to ban the use of anticoagulant rodenticides to deal with rodents in all properties owned by the municipality.

But council made it clear at its meeting on May 19 that North Cowichan does not have the jurisdiction to ban the use of anticoagulant rodenticides broadly across the municipality, and can only do so on properties owned by North Cowichan.

Residents in North Cowichan can expect to hear more about the harmful impacts of anticoagulant rodenticides (which work by interfering with the activation of vitamin K, a critical component in the production of blood clotting factors in the liver) through upcoming communications from the municipality, and the sharing of educational materials.

RELATED STORY: DIAMOND DISTRICT WOMAN WARNS AGAINST THE USE OF RAT POISON

A report by Dave Preikshot, North Cowichan’s senior environmental specialist, said there is a body of evidence suggesting that ACRs can be consumed by non-target species.

In particular, raptor species like eagles, owls, and hawks are highly susceptible to ACR poisoning when rodents are a primary diet item.

“Several local media reports have described an increasing incidence of ACR poisoned owls arriving at animal rehabilitation facilities,” Preikshot said.

“The absolute effect of any concentration of ACR in a given raptor species is very difficult to assess. Still, the opinion of [studies on the issue] is that ACRs have a significant and negative effect on raptor populations.”

Preikshot said there is also a potential risk posed to other wildlife, domestic animals, and human health through the continued use of ACRs.

He said most reputable sources recommend that as the first line of defence, all buildings and storage infrastructure should be modified to discourage entrance by rats and other rodents, including blocking all openings with durable materials, or using heavy wire mesh to cover openings that cannot be blocked, and removing or securely isolating any sources of food and water.

RELATED STORY: PEST CONTROL COMPANY RELEASES 2020 LIST OF B.C.’S ‘RATTIEST’ CITIES

But Preikshot said that, despite these measures, rats and rodents continue to access a number of municipal buildings and property in North Cowichan.

He said other available methods of rodent control include blunt-force traps and euthanizing live captures.

“‘Snap’ traps are not regarded as effective for institutional use by pest-control operators,” Preikshot said.

“Because rats live communally, they will quickly learn to avoid snap traps when observing other rodents caught by these traps. Multiple-kill repeater traps are regarded as more effective but are also significantly more expensive to purchase and maintain than snap traps or rodenticide.”

Preikshot said live traps are also an option for managing rodent populations on municipal property.

“However, the most significant consideration in the use of live traps is that they require either euthanizing the rodent by hand or releasing it,” he said.

“It’s not permissible to freeze, drown, electrocute, or asphyxiate any mammal pests. Because many rodents are invasive, releasing them to the wild would likely have a negative effect on the environment through competition with native rodents. A likelier outcome of releasing rodents to the wild is that they will simply locate a new home on nearby residential, commercial or agricultural property.”

Preikshot said an estimate for changes to costs for rodent control was prepared by the contractor currently engaged in managing rats and other pests at a number of North Cowichan properties.

“The current labour and maintenance cost for rodent control at these sites is approximately $7,000 per year,” he said.

“It’s anticipated that the added expenses of maintaining blunt-force or live traps would increase the annual cost of rodent control to about $14,000 per year.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

vancouverisland

Just Posted

Reflective number or design on hoodie. Police are seeking help in identifying three youth involved in an incident on Soderholm Road early June 12. Photo courtesy Campbell River RCMP
Do you know where your kids were at 1:24 a.m.?

Campbell River RCMP seeking help identifying three youths

John Hart Dam near Campbell River, B.C. BC Hydro photo
Campbell River watershed forecasts improve with rainfall

BC Hydro projects slightly higher resevoir levels and river flows after rainy May and June

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Heather Gordon Murphy (l-r) and Jan Wade, chair and executive director, respectively, of the Downtown Campbell River Business Improvement Association, are working to make the city’s core a safer and more welcoming place.
Downtown Campbell River BIA working to change perceptions

Downtown Campbell River BIA is establishing nighttime security patrols and targeting beautification

Carl Sweet (left) speaks with Rod Burns before the march from Logger Mike to MLA Michele Babchuk’s office in Campbell River. The men were from two different sides of the issue of old growth logging in B.C. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Old growth forest counter-rallies converge on the streets of Campbell River

Pro-forestry and preserve old growth supporters argue and debate in front of MLA’s office

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read