I am writing you to ask your assistance with a very serious, time sensitive issue. According to a recent article in a local newspaper, the Department of Parks & Recreation is either planning to use or already using rat poison in Prospect Park:
I'm sure you are aware that there have been instances in the past when poisoned rats inadvertantly killed Red-tailed Hawks in Central Park. I was under the impression that the DoPR had changed their policy towards the use of rodenticides. If the article is correct, then there is the very real danger that the "Hawk Migration Celebration" in Prospect Park will become a raptor funeral. The area in question is along the north-south stretch of woods that is frequented by the local hawk family. It is also about 250 yards from the nest they've used for 6 years and about 600 yards from the nature center.
The New York City Audubon Society has a history of working with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation to resolve various conservation issues. It is extremely important that something be done quickly to assure that the resident Red-tailed Hawks, as well as, the many others that have begun migrating through the city parks are protected from poison-laced prey.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter,
Again, the most appalling thing about this episode is not that the DOPR is putting down rat poison in an area frequented by migrating hawks. That is appalling enough, but absent more it could be attributed to the bureaucratic incompetence and stupidity that seem to pervade the DOPR’s upper ranks, here a mistaken belief that these rats somehow present a pressing public health problem. But that’s not why they’re doing it. The most appalling thing is that the DOPR is putting down rat poison so that a few dogs and their owners can have a good time, and the consequences be damned.
UPDATE: from a correspondent:
I believe it is illegal under state law to place any rodenticide near water. Usually restrictions say that poison must be at placed least 50 feet away from water lines. The Dept, of Parks should know this since they are the ones up to their heads in beauracratic regulations. I hope they are not bending over backwards to appease their friends at FIDO. Besides, how DO THEY know it's rats spreading germs? Could one or more other dogs be carriers of disease ? Stop blaming other things.The correspondent is right on: as we blogged on June 5, a sign at the Binghamton University nature preserve says that domestic dogs may not bathe in the lake because “dogs’ feces add bacteria and parasites to the water that local wildlife drinks.”