- Gerry McChesneyUS Fish & Wildlife, Refuge Manager
- Bryan ArroyoAss't Director, International Affairs, US Fish & Wildlife
- Bill WaldmanCEO, Island Conservation
- E.O WilsonHarvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology
- Maria BrownSuperintendent of the Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary
US Fish & Wildlife, Gerry McChesney, Refuge Manager: Stop the Plan to Dump Rat Poison over the Farallon Islands
If US Fish & Wildlife has its way, Nov of 2014 is when they would like to begin a mission that involves the use of helicopters dropping an estimated 1.3 metric tons of rat poison over the Southeast Farallon Islands. This is part of a political and complex relationship that exists between US Fish & Wildlife Service and an organization called Island Conservation. Island Conservation is the firm that would get the business if the decision is made to go forward with this project.
Island Conservation is registered as a nonprofit; however they make millions of dollars undertaking island eradication projects all over the world. If you visit their web site or read press releases you will see that they claim "success" at doing this. What the public doesn't know about are the many thousands of wild animals, conveniently referred to as "non target species" or "collateral damage" that are killed during these eradication projects. This story here in Nature tells of what happened up in Alaska in 2008, after Island Conservation dropped 40 tons of brodifacoum (rat poison) over "Rat Island." http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110407/full/news.2011.24.html
This video tells the very disturbing story of what happening in New Zealand when Island Conservation used the same method of carpet bombing they want to use at the Farallon Islands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Skm8f2yvNg
Island Conservation has been paid over $481,000 by US Fish & Wildlife (so far) to write the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. This explains the lack of objectivity and mis-leading information found throughout the 741 page document. Island Conservation will also be paid approx 1.3 million dollars to carry out this mission if given the green light by US Fish & Wildlife. This is an absolute conflict of interest and outrageous.
More importantly, there is no guarantee that this plan will work. Also at risk, is the contamination of fish and other food sources in the waters surrounding San Francisco. This issue is not mentioned in the EIS and has occurred before during these projects.
The Farallon Islands is an area designated by the US as wilderness. Located approx 30 miles offshore from San Francisco, the islands are home to twelve species of sea and shorebirds, and the seabird numbers average over 250,000 birds. Harbor seals, the California sea lion, northern elephant seal and the stellar sea lion (endangered) also come to the island, many of them to breed. This healthy population of pinnipeds attracts great white sharks to the islands. Additionally, blue whales, grey whales and humpback whales frequent these waters. All of these animals will be placed at risk if US Fish & Wildlife carries out this plan.
It is the mission of US Fish & Wildlife to protect ALL of the trusted resources within the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Not a select few.
- US Fish & Wildlife, Refuge Manager
- Ass't Director, International Affairs, US Fish & Wildlife
- CEO, Island Conservation
- Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology
- Superintendent of the Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary
The current plan under consideration to use helicopters to dump 1.3 metric tons of rat poison over the Farallon Islands is highly unethical, outrageous and will result in a tremendous loss of wildlife. There is also risk that fish will consume the bait pellets when they fall into the water, resulting in the possible contamination of the food supply for seabirds, raptors, sharks, marine mammals and humans. The dismissive and extremely casual attitude of USFWS concerning "collateral damage" and non target species is deeply troubling and concerning. If this mission is carried out, what is USFWS going to do when gulls, raptors and other "non target animals" start dying very gruesome deaths in public places in San Francisco?
By having Island Conservation write the Environmental Impact Statement, for which they were paid $481,883, AND have this same company carry out the scope of the work is an absolute conflict of interest.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee this proposed plan will work. The issue at hand is an average of 6 burrowing owls per season. The relocation of the burrowing owls (also a species of special concern) will have less impact on the environment and wildlife, and no risk of contaminating the food supply or the unethical killing of thousands of wild animals that USFWS is supposed to protect.
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