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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ranger's report

I finished reading Colorado: The Highest State (Noel & Smith, 2011) this morning. In the afternoon I attended a combined potluck / meeting for volunteers at the refuge. I took pasta salad that I bought at the store.

The head ranger spoke near the end of the meeting . He reported there are 50 eagle roosts on the refuge; this is the most they've counted in three years. I was alarmed and saddened when he told us about a new poison that farmers and ranchers are using to kill rodents including prairie dogs. We all understand prairie dogs and other rodents are very destructive and need to be controlled, unfortunately this poison kills a lot of other animals too.

The poison (Rozol) is an anticoagulant that causes the animal to hemorrhage and bleed to death; it can take several days for the animal to die. Prairie dogs leave their burrow before dying. Their carcases attract other animals such as eagles, hawks, and coyotes who feed on the carcases and also die from the poison. Other animals have been killed when the poisoned bait, usually grain, was misapplied. The poison is water soluble and is dangerous to use near lakes and streams.

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