A view of a weather-beaten building on the Farallon Islands off the coast of California.

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Plan To Curb Farallon Islands' Rodent Population Comes Under Attack

Carrie Hodousek
July 05, 2019 - 10:32 am

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has a plan to drop poison on the Farallon Islands to get rid of the infestation of mice, but critics say it would endanger other wildlife and destabilize a sensitive ecosystem. 

The Farallon Islands, located less than 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco, are home to one the the largest breeding grounds for seabirds. The feds say the islands' growing mice population is wreaking havoc on native plants and insects.

The mice attract burrowing owls, which then stay year-round and eat eggs of rare birds on the chain, according to Doug Cordell, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Yet the plan to dump 1.5 tons of poison on the mice is being criticized by writer Maggie Sergio who fears the owls and other species who eat the dead mice will be poisoned themselves.

"It would be horrendous," she told KCBS Radio. 'Any animal that comes in contact with the poison pellets themselves will be impacted. Any animal that comes in contact with the dead mice will be impacted."

The Fish and Wildlife Service says workers will capture the owls and have the gulls away over the two-week period for the project. The California Coastal Commission will consider the plan on July 10.