Jane Goodall Condemns California Coastal Commission Decision to Issue Death Sentence for Farallones Ecosystem
On December 16, the California Coastal Commission unfortunately voted 5 to 3 to approve the use of helicopters to scatter 1.5 metric tons of cereal bait laced with an extremely toxic second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide onto the delicate ecosystem of the Southeast Farallon Island by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Commission’s approval was granted for the poison project to proceed despite formal opposition expressed at the hearing by Dr. Jane Goodall, the Honorable Leon Panetta, and former Representative Lynn Woolsey, whose tenure in Congress was instrumental in the designation and expansion of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, as well as concerns about the plan expressed by several members of the Commission itself.
Commissioners Donne Brownsey, Sara Aminzadeh, Katie Rice, Mike Wilson, and alternate Dr. Shelley Luce voted for the drop while Dr. Caryl Hart, Carole Groom, and Roberto Uranga voted against it.
“Non-target” animals will inevitably also be slowly killed by the poison drop since Western Gulls fly back and forth to the mainland daily. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service calculates that it would take a mortality rate of 1,050 gulls to make a population-level impact on the Western Gulls on the Farallones and this poison drop could meet or exceed this number. A former Fish and Wildlife official has predicted that as many as 3,000 gulls may die unnecessarily as a result of what is called “bykill.”
We are extremely disappointed by this verdict, which is a literal death sentence for thousands of animals who reside on, swim near, or fly to the Farallones daily. An untold number of animals large and small will be impacted by this decision for years to come. Once the brodifacoum rodenticide inevitably becomes part of the food web, it will kill exponentially more animals than it could ever possibly save. We will continue to work in solidarity with local activists on alternate strategies to stop this deadly poison drop!
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