Owls Killed by Rat Poison in South Africa, Southern Ireland and Scotland.

In August 2010 Raptor Politics reported on the deaths of 10 red kites all found poisoned on Scotland’s Black Isle resulting from secondary poisoning caused by Rodenticide (rat poison) read the full account here. Following the successful release of red kites during last summer in Dublin and Wicklow, we also report further recent kite deaths in Fingal. There was a total of 39 red kites, collected for Fingal under licence from Wales with project partners, the Welsh Kite Trust. The Fingal Red Kite release programme is part of the final and fifth year of an ambitious project to re-establish red kites in Ireland.  A total of 8 kites have now been recovered dead in Fingal since November representing just over 20% of the red kites released in the Fingal area., read this story here. Now further raptor deaths caused by 2nd Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides are being reported from the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

About a dozen spotted eagle owls have died of poisoning in the past six weeks in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Eastern Cape, according to news reports published on Tuesday (24 January 2012).

South African Raptor expert Arnold Slabbert has confirmed that each of these deaths were linked to the continuing problem of secondary rat poisoning in food packing warehouses and in households. He said it was also linked to the movement of young owls into new territories as they fledge from their parents’ nests.

“It’s really upsetting. While there are more and more people who phone in and clearly want to do the right thing, there is still way too much poison and careless use of poisons out there.

“I’ve been receiving about two poisoned owl call-outs a week for the past six weeks.

“Owls used to be so much part of this metro, but we are systematically eradicating them.”

Rodenticide poisoning brings on a desperate thirst and the rat will often venture further and longer in the open than it usually would, in search of water. If its brain haemorrhages, it will be staggering around, he explained.

“However slightly it’s struggling, this vulnerability is detected by the raptor, and the target is chosen. The rat is wolfed down and the poison which has not yet killed the rat kills the hunter.”

1 comment to Owls Killed by Rat Poison in South Africa, Southern Ireland and Scotland.

  • John Miles

    Still no region in Britain actually tries to use predators instead of poison. Even the RSPB uses poison!!