A great horned owl found dead near Kings Park was likely killed by rat poison. On Monday evening the District of Saanich voted unanimously to ban municipal use of anticoagulant rodenticides. (Photo Courtesy of Robert Vanzella)

Saanich bans use of rat poison in bid to save owls

Ban applies to municipal use only, district to try educating the public in bid to make them follow

Saanich won’t use rat poison in the municipality in an effort to protect the environment and both wild and domestic animals.

A unanimous council decision Monday, July 13 supports a ban on municipal use of anticoagulant rodenticides and asks staff to educate the community on the harmful impacts of the pest-killer. The idea follows in the footsteps of the North Vancouver council, which made the same decision mid-June.

The Saanich vote follows the recent deaths of a barred owl and great horned owl near the District-owned Kings Road Community Nature Green Space. Necropsy reports on the birds revealed both likely died from rodent poison.

RELATED: Saanich councillors scurry to ban rat poisons on municipal properties

“[Rodenticides] have a harmful impact on a wide range of wildlife, including species such as owls, which are not only beloved creatures in our community, but also are the very species that naturally hunt … rats,” Coun. Ned Taylor told Black Press Media.

Taylor, who pushed for the ban alongside Coun. Colin Plant, would have liked to see resident use outlawed entirely, but that power lies outside the District’s jurisdiction. Instead, the council motion asks Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes to ask the province for a rodenticide ban.

“To continue to allow rat poison to be used as a method of rodent control is really just illogical. It’s ineffective, it’s counter-productive and it has a wide range of harmful impacts on wildlife, pets, children etc.,” Taylor said. “The time has passed for this … but it’s better late than never. Now the province needs to step up and take action.”

RELATED: Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison


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