Practicum Project | 2010

Rodent Control Methods and their Implications for Urban Carnivores in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County, California, USA

Students: Sylvie Dao, Dale Douk, Eric Gumerlock, Stephanie Hoekstra, David Mori, Chay Tang, Sarah Young

Client: National Park Service

Advisor: Dr. Travis Longcore

Non-target urban carnivore species are vulnerable to second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide exposure from neighboring, developed areas. To investigate the mechanisms of transmission from residential users to wildlife in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles County, California, we distributed surveys that assessed resident’s knowledge on the environmental effects of rodenticides and inquired about chemical application methods by homeowners and pest control operatives. We distributed over 1,200 fliers to households directing the respondent to a web-based survey and two homeowners associations emailed the same invitation to their members. We had 55 responses to the survey, 40 of which were in our specified study area. Results showed anticoaguant rodenticide chemicals being used outdoors, dead rodents being found outdoors, homeowners as the primary applicators, and gap in public awareness. Although the sample size was small, we were able to establish that improper rodenticide application does occur in neighborhoods that border habitats occupied by native carnivores, thereby illustrating the potential transmission pathway for rodenticides to these wildlife species.