Marijuana Farms Could Make These Cute Critters an Endangered Species

Marijuana Farms Could Make These Cute Critters an Endangered Species
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State fish and wildlife officials in California are concerned for the future of an adorable weasel-like animal who lives in the forests along the state’s northern coast. They say marijuana cultivation threatens their survival and are recommending that they receive endangered species status. [1]

Natural Society
Source: Los Angeles Times

Decades of trapping and forest-clearing have put the Humboldt marten, a relative of minks and otters, at risk of going extinct, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife says. The department wants the marten listed under California’s Endangered Species Act.

The marten is currently classified by California as a species of special concern. [2]

Fortunately, it’s illegal to trap martens in California now, but many threats still remain to their populations: wildfires, logging, road construction, and – increasingly – marijuana grows, including the toxic pesticides sprayed on marijuana plants. [1]

In Humboldt County, California, where martens are found, anywhere from 4,000 to 15,000 legal marijuana cultivation sites exist. That doesn’t include illegal operations and “trespass grows” on public tribal lands. [2]

And when we say “pesticides,” that includes rodenticides that kill not only rodents, but also Humboldt martens. Spotted owls are also dying in Humboldt County for the same reason.

The department’s recommendation now goes to state Fish and Game Commission, which is expected to make a decision about the listing in August 2018. [1]

The humble little Humboldt marten was believed to be extinct until one was spotted on national forest land in northwest California in 1996, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The center and another group petitioned the state in 2015 to list the marten as endangered.

The marten population in California is about 200. In Oregon, experts estimate there are less than a few hundred.

Similarly, in April 2018, conservation groups filed a petition asking Oregon officials to ban trapping of Humboldt martens.

Sources:

[1] Los Angeles Times

[2] Live Science