Audubon of Kansas
Audubon of Kansas Press Release
Pesticides Deadly to Prairie Dogs Also Threaten Imperiled Animals
 Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon of Kansas sue to prevent secondary poisoning of wildlife like the endangered black-footed ferrets, bald and golden eagles, and ferruginous hawks
  • Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon of Kansas filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the EPA for approving pesticides Rozol and Kaput-D for use on prairie dogs, the main food source for endangered black-footed ferrets, in violation of numerous federal laws without consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • The blood-thinning chemicals can last for weeks in prairie dogs -- also poisoning endangered black-footed ferrets and protected birds, such as bald eagles and the ferruginous hawk.

Blue Grosbeak                   Partially Consumed Prairie Dog
WASHINGTON (Sept. 23, 2009) - Pesticides used to kill prairie dogs are the target of a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, which has approved two deadly chemicals, chlorophacinone (Rozol) and diphacinone (Kaput-D), for use in as many as 11 states.
Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon of Kansas are seeking stronger protections today for federally protected animals that feed on poisoned prairie dogs. In addition to black-footed ferrets, many birds and raptors, including burrowing owls, bald and golden eagles, Swainson's hawks, ferruginous hawks and turkey vultures, are at risk from use of these chemicals. 
Rozol and Kaput-D contain blood-thinning drugs that cause poisoned prairie dogs to slowly bleed to death through "various orifices, including eventually the skin membranes," the Fish and Wildlife Service stated in a letter to the EPA earlier this month. 
The poisons can take weeks to finish off an infected prairie dog, during which time the hamster-like mammal languishes, becoming disoriented and slowly loses bodily function - making it easy prey. Because the chemicals can linger in a prairie dog's carcass for weeks, animals and birds that feed on dead or infected rodents or live in contaminated burrows can also inadvertently become poisoned. 
"These chemicals are nasty stuff," said Jason Rylander, an attorney with the Defenders of Wildlife. "The best available science shows that they're inappropriate for widespread use on prairie dogs because of the impacts on threatened and endangered animals. It's unacceptable that the EPA is expanding their use, violating federal wildlife laws, and ignoring all reasonable requests from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies to limit the use of these poisons. The bottom line is that Rozol and Kaput-D need tighter regulation." 
For years, the Fish and Wildlife Service has sought consultation with EPA under the Endangered Species Act on how to regulate use of the poisons to avoid inadvertently harming black-footed ferrets and other protected mammals and birds. On Sept. 9, 2009, FWS formally requested that EPA revoke the pesticides' registrations. The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, representing 23 western states, has also asked EPA not to approve these pesticides without further environmental review.
"Tons of Rozol have been used in recent years in a misguided attempt to eradicate prairie dogs in some Kansas counties where County Commissioners, urged by the Kansas Farm Bureau, are using century-old statutes to force landowners to kill these native mammals on private land," said Ron Klataske, executive director of Audubon of Kansas. "Secondary poisoning with Rozol is a threat to swift foxes, American badgers, ferruginous hawks, golden and bald eagles that frequently feed on prairie dogs in the Great Plains. Black-footed ferrets rely almost exclusively on prairie dogs for food."
Rozol is approved for use to poison prairie dogs in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. The EPA allows Kaput-D to be used on prairie dogs in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming.
In addition to the concerns expressed by Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon of Kansas in today's filing with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies wrote a letter to EPA expressing concern on August 19, 2009, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrote a similar letter on September 8, 2009.  The letters are found here:
Audubon of Kansas presented a lengthy statement on the potential hazards of Rozol to EPA in May 2008.  The statement includes 70 pages of documentation and information related to the associated issues.  It can be viewed on the Audubon of Kansas website <> at:
Read the complaint at:

Black-footed Ferret and Prairie Dog Conservation in Kansas:
Audubon of Kansas (AOK) has been working with landowners in western Kansas who want to retain prairie dogs and other wildlife on their land.  Ron Klataske of AOK identified Logan County as a suitable site for reintroduction of the endangered Black-footed Ferret in 2005, and several ranch landowners with approximately 26,000 acres of combined land requested reintroduction of Black-footed Ferrets.  The Nature Conservancy later added their invitation to be a part of the experimental reintroduction. The first 24 of nearly 75 Black-footed Ferrets were released December 18, 2007 (one week before Christmas) on the Haverfield and Barnhardt ranches and on the Smoky Valley Ranch.  In partnership with private ranch families, Audubon of Kansas is on the forefront of conservation activities devoted to these species and others associated with the shortgrass prairie/prairie dog ecosystems in the central Great Plains.
Please Help With this and Other Important AOK Conservation Initiatives

We need your help.  Please donate now to keep Audubon of Kansas on the front lines undeterred by controversy or the absence of other conservation organizations in the trenches, working for wildlife in every forum possible, joining landowners and others who strive to protect prairie landscapes and ecological values, pushing agencies to change operational paradigms and go beyond their comfort zones.   We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.
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About Audubon of Kansas:
Audubon of Kansas is a statewide, not-for-profit organization established to promote appreciation and stewardship of Kansas' natural ecosystems, with special emphasis on conservation of prairies, birds, other wildlife and their habitat.
About Defenders of Wildlife:
Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.
Learn more about Defenders of Wildlife and Black-footed Ferret Conservation at:
Audubon of Kansas
Ron Klataske
Defenders of Wildlife
James Navarro