According to a Press Release from the City of Arcata:
In honor of National Pollution Prevention Week, wildlife disease ecologist Mourad Gabriel will give a presentation entitled “Silent Forests: Impacts from Poisons Associated with Illegal Marijuana Cultivation on our Public and Tribal Lands” at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center on Thursday, September 27 at 7 p.m. The Interpretive Center is located at 569 South G Street in Arcata.
Gabriel and his colleagues are finding an alarming rate of rat poisoning deaths in fishers, a near-endangered member of the weasel family that live in some of the most remote forests in California. He and his colleagues are concerned about how pesticides and rodenticides used by illegal marijuana growers on remote public, private and tribal lands are affecting both the forest watersheds and the entire forest food chain, from rodents to carnivores like martens, spotted owls and the Sierra Nevada red fox.
Mourad Gabriel completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees focusing on wildlife diseases at Humboldt State University. While completing his M.S., he co-founded MGW Biological, an environmental consulting firm, as well as Integral Ecology Research Center, a non-profit scientific research organization where he is the president and senior ecologist. Gabriel is completing his Ph.D. this fall at the University of California Davis in comparative pathology and has authored several scientific manuscripts focusing on infectious and non-infectious diseases affecting wildlife of conservation concern. He lives in Northwestern California where he and his wife, also an ecologist, try to spend as much time as possible enjoying our public lands.
Gabriel’s talk will be videotaped and aired at a later date on Suddenlink/Access Humboldt Channel 10 and will be available for on-demand viewing online at: www.cityofarcata.org.
U.C. Davis wildlife disease ecologist Mourad Gabriel with pesticides found at an illegal marijuana cultivation site in a secluded forest area. Rat poisons are often used to protect young marijuana plants in remote illegal marijuana grow sites. The poisons are killing different animals in the forest food chain, many of which are already nearing endangered status.
U.C. Davis researcher Mourad Gabriel with one of his research subjects, a Pacific fisher. Fishers, a weasel-like forest carnivore, are being found with alarmingly high levels of rat poisons and pesticides in their bodies. These increasingly rare animals live deep in forests and are exposed to pesticides used by illegal marijuana growers.
A Pacific fisher in its natural element. Fishers and other animals in the forest and watershed food chain are unintended casualties of illegal pot farming. (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Green, Hoopa Tribe.)