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User behaviour, best practice and the risks of non-target exposure associated with anticoagulant rodenticide use

By David G. Tosh, Richard F. Shore, Stephen Jess, Alan Withers, Stuart Bearhop, W. Ian Montgomery and Robbie A. McDonald

Abstract

Usage of anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) is an integral component of modern agriculture and is essential for the control of commensal rodent populations. However, the extensive deployment of ARs has led to widespread exposure of a range of non-target predatory birds and mammals to some compounds, in particular the second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). As a result, there has been considerable effort placed into devising voluntary best practice guidelines that increase the efficacy of rodent control and reduce the risk of non-target exposure. Currently, there is limited published information on actual practice amongst users or implementation of best practice. We assessed the behaviour of a typical group of users using an on-farm questionnaire survey. Most baited for rodents every year using SGARs. Most respondents were apparently aware of the risks of non-target exposure and adhered to some of the best practice recommendations but total compliance was rare. Our questionnaire revealed that users of first generation anticoagulant rodenticides rarely protected or checked bait stations, and so took little effort to prevent primary exposure of non-targets. Users almost never searched for and removed poisoned carcasses and many baited for prolonged periods or permanently. These factors are all likely to enhance the likelihood of primary and secondary exposure of non-target species.\ud \u

Topics: Agriculture and Soil Science, Zoology
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.12.014
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:13740
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