An owl living in the Kings Road greenspace was found dead in November. (Photo couresty Rob Vanzella)

Necropsy results show Kings Park owl likely died from rat poison

The Barred Owl ingested two different rodenticides

Saanich residents were devastated when the lifeless body of the neighbourhood owl was found at the foot of the tree he once roosted in. Kings Road park neighbours requested a necropsy to determine what killed the resident Barred Owl and learned it was likely rat poison.

On Nov. 29, Rob Vanzella went out to look for the bird after a neighbour mentioned they’d spotted its body. Once he found it, Vanzella scooped the brown owl’s body off the ground and took it home so that it wouldn’t be scavenged before a cause of death could be determined.

READ ALSO: Kings Park owl found dead, neighbours request an autopsy

Vanzella and his wife, Deanna Pfeifer, were concerned the owl may have died from rat poison but felt it could have been injured in a fight. They requested a necropsy to be sure.

The owl’s body was collected in December and brought to the Animal Health Centre lab in Abbotsford. The report Vanzella and Pfeifer received from the Ministry of Agriculture several weeks later concluded that the owl was poisoned. Two different commercial-grade rat poisons – Brodifacoum and Bromadiolone – were found in the bird’s liver.

The adult male owl had no injuries and was determined to be “well-muscled” and aside from being pale, he was in “excellent body condition.”

Vanzella explained that they were told the rat poisons are “highly lethal” and meant to be used by experts with caution.

Pfeifer noted that the presence of two poisons either means two households were using the poison or that one was using several poisons without realizing the risks to other wildlife who may eat the dead rats.

READ ALSO: Metchosin mom pleads for the end of rat poison use after cat dies

In March 2018, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture said the number of owls dying from poisoning more than doubled in a six-month period.

“This is an opportunity to raise awareness and get people to stop using rat poisons,” Pfeifer said.

She wants people to know that the convenience of rat poison shouldn’t outweigh animal safety; even if a rat dies, the poison in its body doesn’t “deactivate” meaning that an animal that eats it can die.

This incident has reinforced the Saanich residents’ resolve to protect the green space unofficially called Kings Park. The municipality bought the land from B.C. Hydro in 2019 for $5.5 million. The District also announced that $2.75 million would need to be fundraised by August 2020 to offset the cost of the park as Saanich borrowed $4 million for the purchase.

Pfeifer said the group is seeking donations from businesses and working to access grants but that fundraising events will be planned for the future.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is looking for this man, who they say stole a charity box. (Facebook/Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Crime Stoppers looking for man who stole charity box from Saanich grocery store

Anyone with information asked to call Crime Stoppers

Sooke man Rik Downer spent two weeks in the Royal Jubilee Hospital after contracting flesh-eating bacteria. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Sooke man’s bumped knee leads to fight for life

Man unknowingly contracts case of rare flesh-eating disease

Victoria High School. (Black Press Media file photo)
Alumni Association abandons plans for eight-lane track at Vic High

SD61 spokesperson says easement, which makes 8-lane track impossible, left out of consultation

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Most Read