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Task Force Studies How Best To Control Rats On SC Island

Rat Brett Jordan Unsplash
Brett Jordan

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — A task force of wildlife agents, university researchers and leaders in pest control is studying how the poison used to control rats on a South Carolina island is also killing the bobcats that eat them for food.

The South Carolina SGA Rodenticide Task Force said its goal is to balance the needs of businesses and people on Kiawah Island with protected wildlife, Clemson University said in a news release.

The chemical used in rat poison prevents the rodents' blood from clotting. But that same chemical has been found in dead bobcats, who eat the rats, the state Department of Natural Resources said

Scientists are mapping the island's rat population and the task force plans to study that data to determine how to use the chemicals sparingly, but still prevent rats from spreading diseases, said Mike Weyman, deputy director of Clemson University’s Regulatory Services.

“In a restaurant or food storage facility the threshold for a rat is zero. They don’t have a choice. A rat dropping will shut them down. They have to use the best product available. It all comes down to public safety. The important thing now is that the task force collect accurate data and share the facts with all the parties involved so we can reach shared decisions," Weyman said in a statement.

The South Carolina Pest Control Association supports the project.

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