California Marijuana farms killing owls

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A chemical used at illegal marijuana farms in California is the reason why owls are suddenly dying. In a study by Aviation Conservation and Ecology, scientists said rodenticides is a chemical used at illegal marijuana farms aimed at killing rats, which are then eaten by owls. The owls, including the northern spotted owl, are dying as a result of eating the poisoned rats, the journal said.

The study focused on areas surrounding marijuana farms in Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties, where they collected dozens of dead owls.

"We documented that 70 percent of Northern Spotted Owls and 40 percent of Barred Owls were exposed to one or more anticoagulant rodenticides," the study stated. "This study demonstrates environmental contamination within occupied Northern Spotted Owl habitat and that Barred Owls can be used as adequate surrogates for detecting these pollutants in a rare species such as the Northern Spotted Owl."

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The study's lead author, Mourad Gabriel, told the Associated Press "he's concerned that the poisoning of wildlife will increase now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, potentially driving the proliferation of pot farms."

"California officials argue that legalization will allow them to increase oversight and regulation of cannabis farms in fragile forests," Associated Press reported.

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