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

Skydiver lands safely after cutting away main chute

Central Saanich emergency services called after witnesses saw spiralling chute

Man arrested at gunpoint outside Vic High

Police were called after he allegedly threatened a teacher with a knife

Man struck and killed on the Pat Bay Highway

Pedestrian struck while crossing near Mount Newton X Rd in Central Saanich

Joining the new wave of women in trades

Pair of Saanich residents among women joining trades

Balancing act: making it work as coach and mom

Vikes coach Dani Sinclair has only job she ever wanted

VIDEO: B.C. ‘escapologist’ stuns judges on Britain’s Got Talent

Matt Johnson says televised water stunt was closest he’s come to death

78 Mexican farmworkers displaced after fire tears through building on B.C. farm

Flames broke out Thursday morning in building that housed up to 80 workers at Abbotsford farm

Saanich Police pull over Pink Flamingo

Officers remind public this is not the way to transport items

Cartoonist captures public mood following Toronto, Humboldt tragedies

Cartoonist said he was trying to find a bit of positivity with an image that has garnered attention

Cordova Bay atop Greater Victoria elementary schools in Fraser Institute rankings

“It’s bad science… hopefully this is the last one,” says local union rep of ranking

Role models key to women’s success in science

While women represent the majority of university graduates, far fewer are in STEM fields

Montreal Habs goalie Carey Price stops by B.C. hometown for rodeo

Famous goaltender tries to blend in with the crowd at first BCRA-santioned event of the season

Whitecaps host against Real Salt Lake looking to snap 3-game losing streak

Ending their losing streak is all the Whitecaps care about when they host Salt Lake in Vancouver

B.C. hires 20 more conservation officers

The province announces 12 new locations for conservation officer services this year

Most Read