Five owls died of poisoning over six months in B.C. (Yutaka Seki/Flickr)

Twice as many owls dying from rat poison: B.C. government

Delta’s raptor care centre says the owls are eating poisoned mice and rats

The number of owls dying of poisoning in B.C. more than doubled over a six-month period, according to the agriculture ministry.

Five of the owls that were necropsied from October to January had likely fatal traces of rat poison, the province told Black Press Media, compared to just two between June 2016 and July 2017.

Two owls died of poisoning in North Vancouver, while one was in Stanley Park and two were in Greater Victoria.

A sixth owl, not submitted to the ministry, died of poisoning in South Surrey in December.

Caitlin Folvik, a raptor care assistant at Delta’s Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, said the facility has seen a spike in non-fatal poisonings too.

Folvik points to the uptick in development around Metro Vancouver, as mice and rats in clearcuts rush to find shelter in the bushes and trees on people’s properties.

READ: More barred owls sightings in Vancouver bad news for rats and mice

Residents leave out poison to take care of the pests, but Folvik said rats don’t die right away after consuming the poison.

“They start to act kind of drunk and are easier for the owls to pick off.”

Other ways to get prevent a rat infestation include blocking any holes they might use to get into your house, and then if they do, to use snap traps or electric traps.

“There’s some people who use a bucket with a dowel and then the bucket falls and traps the mouse,” Folvik added.

“Coyote or fox urine can act as a deterrent too and people can buy that at hunting and game stores.”

Poisoned owls can often be saved, Folvik said. If you see one acting strangely, call the society’s 24/7 raptor rescue line at 604-946-3171.

“Lots of times, they end up getting themselves in trees and the look very sleepy and kind of dopey,” she said. “They act like they’re drunk, they wobble. Or you’ll find them drinking lots and lots of water.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Mysterious East Sooke ‘Grouse Nest’ up for sale

Luxurious East Sooke property on selling block for $6.98 million

Crash snarls traffic on Trans Canada at Tillicum

One of the vehicles involved has markings of a company supplying traffic control personnel

Saanich to study ‘mega mansions’ on farm land

District staff will study the siting of homes on agricultural lots

Sooke fastball team to compete at B.C. finals

U19 provincial tournament takes place July 13 to 15

VIDEO: B.C.’s ‘unicycle cowboy’ aspires to be rancher one day

Burklan Johnson has only ridden a horse once, but this unicyclist has big plans to become a cowboy.

Reports of explosion in Okanagan turn out to be squirrel vs. power line

The noise was described as ‘similar to a shotgun blast’ that shook the Earth

WEB POLL: Should illegal immigrants be separated from their children?

Should illegal immigrants be separated from their children?… Continue reading

A look at what Canadian teams might do in the 1st round of the NHL draft

Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Edmonton in top 10 of upcoming draft

Seasonal transit changes take effect July 2

Improved service to popular summer destinations

Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

Western lowland gorilla, 46, died in her sleep in California

California court hears tales of shackled, starved children

David and Louise Turpin have pleaded not guilty to torture, child abuse of their 12 children

Trudeau in nothern B.C. to announce pledge to protect oceans

Prime minister announces conservation agreement with 14 First Nations

FIFA World Cup weekly roundup

Host nation Russia remains unbeaten in Group A, tied with Uruguay

Most Read