SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 17 (UPI) — Environmental groups say they oppose a plan to “bomb” mice on an island off the California coast with pesticide in an effort to eradicate them.
Non-native house mice have overrun Southeast Farallon Island 27 miles off the coast of San Francisco, and federal officials want to perform an aerial drop of pesticide pellets potent enough to kill the mice, whose population has grown to “plague-like” proportions, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.
“The goal is to have as healthy an ecosystem as possible, and having mice on the island is not helping maintain a healthy ecosystem,” Bradford Keitt of Island Conservation said.
Island Conservation is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop an eradication plan.
However, animal welfare groups say they worry the solution could be worse than the problem.
“Our concern is there will be non-targeted species that are affected,” Maggie Sergio of the non-profit advocacy group Wildcare said.
“Anything that eats those poisoned rodents will die of secondary poisoning. The gulls will consume the pellets. Other species of animals will eat the pellets. Also, this stuff will get into the surrounding water.”
Wildcare has circulated a petition that garnered 2,700 signatures from people opposing the aerial bombardment.
Fish and Wildlife officials insist every alternative will be explored in the draft environmental report expected out next spring.