(Washington, D.C., October 16 , 2012) Defenders of Wildlife, American Bird Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Audubon of Kansas have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject an application by Scimetrics to use the rodenticide Kaput-D for the control of black-tailed prairie dogs in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.
The groups say that because Kaput-D, which contains the anticoagulant diphacinone that causes poisoned animals to bleed to death, is not selective in the animals it impacts, it has a high probability of killing non-target wildlife, including species protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Black-tailed prairie dogs are regularly exterminated from ranchland as pests, primarily because they are thought to compete with cattle for forage. Their populations have been reduced by as much as 95 percent of their historical numbers and continue to decline.
In a letter to the EPA, the groups point out that the proposed registration decision is based on information provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for another pesticide, Rozol Prairie Dog Bait, which contains a different active ingredient, chlorophacinone.
The groups stress that the EPA cannot simply insert Kaput-D in place of Rozol in its scientific assessment. They advise EPA to complete formal “Section 7” Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations with FWS on endangered species impacts from the use of this specific pesticide. They suggest that EPA complete such a consultation prior to registration, both to avoid litigation risk, and so that endangered species concerns may properly be analyzed and necessary use restrictions incorporated.