Poison threatens wildlife

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To The Editor:
It is Valentine’s Day and my heart is broken. The opossum lying on my kitchen table cannot be saved. Found slumped in the snow he was brought to my house by a kind lady. She had seen this opossum walking around her yard the past few evenings and had enjoyed watching him. He was, no doubt, searching for a mate. Opossums mate in February, with the young ready to leave the female’s pouch by May.

This opossum is a well-developed young male with soft gray fur and not a bruise or scratch on him. He is lying on his side. Small drops of blood pool beneath his nose. His breathing is barely perceptible. Clearly, he has consumed a poisoned meal. Yes, the woman admits, neighbors put out rodenticide, i.e. rat and mouse poison.

It pains me to watch this beautiful animal die. It pains me to see the suffering we cause to the wild ones with whom we share our space. Poisoned mice are eaten by hawks and owls, by fox and raccoons, by coyotes and cats, and sadly, by opossums, who by their presence on our property keep the rodent population down. How many more lie dying in the snow tonight, every night? Please, if you must kill mice, use snap traps, not poison that travels up the food chain . Please, have a heart. Be a valentine.

Jo-Anne Rowley
Wildlife Rehabilitator
Phoenicia