One of the most endangered mammals in North America, the black-footed ferret, and the prairie dogs on which they feed, will have one less hazard to worry about this winter. Defenders won a court victory barring the use of Rozol Prairie Dog Bait in the states of Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Rozol, which contains the blood thinner chlorophacinone, causes death by internal bleeding and hemorrhaging. Dead and dying prairie dogs can be scavenged by ferrets and raptors, which in turn become poisoned themselves. Defenders sued the EPA for approving the use of Rozol and ignoring federal safeguards under the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
In a recent decision, a district court in the District of Columbia sided with Defenders, ruling that EPA had indeed violated the ESA by approving Rozol without first consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the potential impacts of Rozol on ferrets and other threatened and endangered species.
The final order in the case bars use of Rozol in those four states, requires that Rozol’s manufacturer Liphatech, Inc., notify its distributors not to sell the product in those areas, and prohibits Liphatech from selling or distributing existing stocks in its possession without relabeling it to reflect the ban in those four states. EPA has also agreed to complete consultation with FWS over Rozol use in 10 states to prevent accidental injury to other listed species in the West.