The Rodenticide Stewardship Regime Government Oversight Group (GOG) met in November 2018 to review the progress made with the stewardship scheme. One of the main aims of stewardship is to reduce the unintentional exposure of wildlife to rodenticides. For stewardship, changes in wildlife exposure are assessed through monitoring of residues in sentinel species.
Prof. Richard Shore from the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) attended the meeting and outlined the results of ongoing monitoring of rodenticide residues in red kites and barn owls.
Red kites eat rats and so may be at particular risk of secondary exposure to, and poisoning by, anticoagulant rodenticides. Monitoring exposure and effects in kites is done through a multi-scheme collaboration between WILDCOMS partners, including the PBMS. The latest report on rodenticide residues in red kites in Britain has just been published (click here).
Barn owls eat a range of small mammal species (but few rats) and monitoring residues in owls provides an indication of wider food-chain contamination by rodenticides. The monitoring, part of the UK Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU-UK) stewardship programme, uses carcasses collected by the PBMS. These are analysed for rodenticide residues and the most recent results can be found here.
Overall, the GOG uses the monitoring data to assess whether rodenticide exposure in non-target wildlife is falling as stewardship beds in.