USFWS delays request to poison mice on Farallon Islands

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has temporarily withdrawn a request to use toxicants to eliminate invasive mice from the Farallon Islands off the coast of California. The agency pulled its request from the California Coastal Commission last week after commissioners sought details on how the Service would ensure that the air drop of pellets of the anticoagulant brodifacoum would not affect nontarget species. A spokesman told the San Francisco Chronicle that the agency planned to resubmit the application later after gathering the information that commissioners requested.

The USFWS plans to drop 2,917 pounds of the pellets on 10 islands to exterminate tens of thousands of invasive house mice (Mus musculus). The mice attract burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia), which also feed on the Ashy storm petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa), which is listed as a species of special concern in California.

Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle, and read the USFWS plan here.

Header Image: Invasive mice have disrupted the ecosystems of the rocky Farallon Islands off the California coast. ©Eric Davis/USFWS