Lethal New Poison Could Exterminate Black-tailed Prairie Dogs — Plus Kill Whooping Cranes and Golden Eagles

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Lethal New Poison Could Exterminate Black-tailed Prairie Dogs Plus Kill Whooping Cranes and Golden Eagles

[Ed. Note: Take action - Tell the EPA to Protect Imperiled Prairie Dogs, Not Poison Them.]

From Center for Biological Diversity
November 2009

While Kaput-D should not be registered due to its severe negative impacts to all wildlife, it is particularly troublesome that EPA is blatantly violating its obligations to species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently considering whether to approve a poison, appropriately named Kaput-D, that would be used to exterminate black-tailed prairie dogs. Last week, the Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments explaining the numerous problems with Kaput-D, including how it could also kill non-target species like the extremely endangered black-footed ferret, whooping crane, and American burying beetle, as well as foxes, golden eagles, ferruginous hawks, mountain plovers, burrowing owls, and bald eagles.

“This is like kicking someone when they’re already down,” said Justin Augustine of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Less than a year ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the black-tailed prairie dog may need to be protected under the Endangered Species Act because of already approved poisons that are killing the species. EPA should be withdrawing prairie dog poisons from the market in order to protect this imperiled species, and instead they’re considering allowing more.”

Kaput-D is an anticoagulant poison. It causes animals to lose blood through various orifices, including eventually the skin membranes, over a period of weeks. During this time, poisoned prairie dogs may wander around as they become weaker and weaker and vulnerable to predation. As that point, animals that prey on prairie dogs or use prairie dog habitat can themselves be poisoned.

The EPA is in charge of regulating rodenticides like Kaput-D and has the power to reject applications, as well as alter or cancel existing permits (known as registrations). The agency is also required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service anytime a rodenticide may impact an endangered species such as the black-footed ferret. Thus far, however, EPA has refused to do so in regard to not only Kaput-D but also for already existing prairie dog poisons such as Rozol, another anticoagulant.

“While Kaput-D should not be registered due to its severe negative impacts to all wildlife, it is particularly troublesome that EPA is blatantly violating its obligations to species listed under the Endangered Species Act,” said Justin Augustine. “It’s time for the Obama administration to step up and start protecting America’s wildlife instead of continuing the ridiculous antics of the Bush administration. Approving a poison like Kaput-D makes about as much sense as feeding strychnine to your child. No one in their right mind would do it.”