(Mirror Daily, United States) – While roaming quietly among the trees, little fishers die because of marijuana farms and the rat poison the use.
This is all happening in California, according to a new study published in PLOS One. Its findings were very deeply worrying for scientists. They now say the mortality rate among fishers has increased 233 per cent since 2012.The culprit? It seems to be simple rat poison, spread out and about for protection near illegal marijuana farms in this region.
The rat poison was discovered after some research in the fishers’ tissues. The small animals investigated all lived near such illegal farms, both on public and tribal lands in Southern and Northern California.
This new research has studied some 167 fishers and their deaths. For 129 of those, their cause of death was indeed determined. The result was the fact that fishers in Northern California are 5 times more likely to become poisoned rather than killed off by predators than their brothers in Sierra Nevada.
In the same way, the study shows how male fishers are 13 times more likely to die then the females, probably because male fishers move a lot more during breeding season and that’s when farmers use the most poison.
Of course, the study shows that measures need to be taken so that all these unnecessary deaths among animals stop.
The fisher is a small, cat-sized carnivorous mammal, which lives in North America. He is part of the weasel family and usually lives in forests.
Fishers prefer to hunt in the forest and, although their choice meal is meat, they can be omnivorous too, eating mushrooms and fruits. They love to eat the snowshoe hares and are known to be one of the few animals able to hunt and take down a porcupine. Curiously enough, although they are called fishers, they very rarely eat fish. They can climb trees easily, but prefer to stay on the ground.
Their reproductive cycle lasts almost all year long and, usually a female fisher can produce a litter of three or four kittens.
As far as predators go, they don’t have a lot of them, besides humans. People have been hunting them from the 1700s for their fur and, because of this, they were so intensely hunted in the 20th century, that some areas got completed depleted. But measures were taken and fur fell out of fashion, so little fishers were safe once more.
Fishers do not like to get in contact with humans, but reports exist of fishers attacking pets and even biting a 6 year-old-boy in 2009.
Image Source: www.mnzoo.org