THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Santa Monica Mountains Fund is seeking 10,000 community members to sign an online pledge to refrain from using rodent poisons that work their way up the food chain and sicken or kill wildlife. The pledge takes only a few moments and can be found at samofund.org/takethepledge.
The pledge is part of #BreakThePoisonChain, a new educational campaign developed with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area that seeks to raise awareness about the negative impacts of anticoagulant rodenticide, commonly known as rat poison. Several communities in and around the park, including the cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Moorpark, Ojai, Simi Valley, and Thousand Oaks, as well as the 2nd district of Ventura County, have signed on to support the awareness campaigns. A full list of supporters can be found here.
“We feel confident that most Southern Californians would not use these harmful poisons if they only understood the impacts on our wildlife,” said Charlotte Parry, executive director for the Santa Monica Mountains Fund. “Taking the pledge — and asking your friends and family to do the same — is a simple and straightforward way to protect our wildlife from disease and death.”
National Park Service researchers have documented a direct link between exposure to anti-coagulant compounds and the deaths of wildlife in and around the Santa Monica Mountains. During two decades of research, biologists found that 92% of bobcats, 83% of coyotes, and 92% of mountain lions were exposed to one or more compounds. More information on those published findings are available here.
“Exposure to these toxic compounds can lead to unchecked internal bleeding and death,” said Seth Riley, wildlife ecologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “This kind of poisoning was the second leading cause of death in our coyote study and continues to be a significant source of mortality and disease for bobcats and mountain lions.”
The #BreakThePoisonChain campaign also released an animated video today that suggests alternative methods for poison control, which the group hopes will encourage members of the public to spread the message widely. The video, which can be found at samofund.org/takethepledge/watch-the-video, emphasizes the importance of prevention and gives tips on sealing up entry points, trimming or removing thick vegetation where rodents nest, and limiting attractants such as pet food, bird feeders, easily accessible fruit trees, and trash that is not properly sealed.
Residents who take the pledge can receive a free #BreakThePoisonChain yard sign and bumper sticker from the Santa Monica Mountains Fund.