Conservation advocates oppose plan to carpet bomb picturesque Farallon Islands with “super-toxic rat poison”
By Matthew Davis // Dec 27, 2021

Primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall and Ocean Foundation senior fellow Richard Charter opposed the plan to carpet bomb Farallon Islands in an unprecedented effort to control the mouse population.


Goodall said dropping "super-toxic rat poison" will "inflict pain and suffering on a great many sentient animals."

The picturesque, rocky islands are home to seabirds, seals and sea lions. There are no human dwellers in the islands, which are about 27 miles off the coast of San Francisco. The plan got the go-ahead after the California Coastal Commission (CCC) on Dec. 16 voted 5-3 in favor of the carpet bombing.

Charter, a specialist in advocacy on ocean protection issues, said it is beyond ironic that the CCC approved a proposal by the Biden Administration to spread a deadly multi-species ecosystem poison. He noted that the members of the commission are sworn to protect the California coast. "It's totally incomprehensible," Charter wrote in an email, adding that "nuking the island with a poison that kills everything" is not the answer.

The mouse problem had been discussed for years. According to reports, the mice are not native to the islands but was brought by ships a century ago.

"During this time period, the island is riddled with mouse burrows. There are times when you walk outside, and you actually see the ground undulating as the mice are running about below the surface. Quite frankly, it's a horrifying sight. It's like something right out of a horror movie," said Pete Warzybok, Farallon Islands program leader for Point Blue Conservation Science research institute.

Also included in the plan are the use of lasers, spotlights, pyrotechnics and other measures to prevent seagulls from making their usual stop at the islands. Burrowing owls and other birds of prey that might eat the poisoned mice and poison themselves will be gathered and transported off the island. (Related: More than 80% of bald and golden eagles in the US have RAT POISON in their systems, study shows.)

Poison drop likely to take place in 2023

State officials approved that helicopters will drop the poisoned bait on the islands. The decision to go ahead with the plan came after hours of heated debate. Local environment activists objected to the plan because of fear that rodenticide will not only kill mice, but also seagulls and burrowing owls.

The poison drop could take place by the fall of 2023, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Wildlife officials and ecologists conducting research on the island have argued that urgent and drastic measures are needed to eradicate the mice, which are a threat to endemic species – including native arboreal salamanders, camel crickets and birds like the ashy storm petrel.

Proponents of the plan have said that using the rodenticide brodifacoum is the only way to quickly achieve total eradication of the mice. The proposal is supported by conservation groups like the National Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy.

Opponents of the plan warned that the FWS plans to minimize collateral damage to seabirds, raptors and other animals weren't foolproof.

"Hungry raptors flying along California's coast won't be able to stay away from a feast of ailing, poisoned mice on the island, and will die of poisoning," said Sara Wan of Western Alliance for Nature. Wan said she cried at the thought of birds dying from eating poisoned mice. "If I sound angry to you, it's because I am,'' said Wan.

Watch the video below to know more about the effects of rodenticide on waters.

This video is from the WGON channel on

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