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Illegal Marijuana Sites are Harming Owls

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The Northern Spotted Owl, a threatened species, is dying from rat poison used in illegal marijuana cultivation sites, Scientists from the University of California, Davis, and the California Academy of Sciences discovered.

The Northern Spotted Owl is terminally-affected from ingesting poisons used in illegal “un-permitted private marijuana grow sites” found in the northern California counties: Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte, reports Live Science.

Traces of anticoagulant rodenticide were found in seven of the ten dead Northern Spotted Owls, according to a study published in the journal, Avian Conservation and Ecology. Another species affected was the Barred Owl.  Forty percent of Barred Owls tested positive for the substance, which results in internal bleeding and inability to blood clot.

Scientist say the causes come from private or illegal or “un-permitted marijuana grow sites” that overlap with the habitats of Northern Spotted Owls.

“Spotted owls are inclined to feed along forest edges. Because grow sites break apart these forest landscapes, they are likely source points for exposure,” lead study author Mourad Gabriel, of UC Davis, said in a statement.

They have suggested that improper marijuana cultivation, along with use of illegal pesticides in areas that overlap with forest landscapes, can destroy habitats of animals and the ecosystem living in that area, including owls.

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