The necropsy of the deceased young male adult Fisher located in the marijuana garden in Six Rivers National Forest on 07-31-2013 was recently completed by a scientific team of researchers. The necropsy confirmed suspicions that the Fisher was in fact killed due to Carbamate insecticide poisoning, specifically Methomyl. Methomyl is a highly acute toxic insecticide, its use restricted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Fisher also had Brodifacoum a 2nd generation anticoagulant rodenticide detected in its system. The researchers believe the Fisher experienced convulsions, muscle tremors and respiratory distress during its death.
There were pieces of meat believed to be hotdog inside the Fishers stomach. It was pointed out that if this hotdog were eaten by any other animal it would be toxic to that animal and this toxicant can travel through the food chain, so any scavenger eating an animal poisoned with this would also likely become ill or die.
The researchers believe this is also a public safety issue. See below from Cornell University
Methomyl is potentially a highly poisonous material in humans (6). It is highly toxic if it is ingested or absorbed through the eyes, moderately poisonous when inhaled, but of lower toxicity with skin, or 'dermal,' exposure (18, 30). Methomyl is a highly toxic inhibitor of cholinesterase, an essential nervous system enzyme. Symptoms of anti- cholinesterase activity include weakness, blurred vision, headache, nausea, abdominal cramps, chest discomfort, constriction of pupils, sweating, muscle tremors, and decreased pulse. If there is severe poisoning, symptoms of twitching, giddiness, confusion, muscle incoordination, slurred speech, low blood pressure, heart irregularities, and loss of reflexes may also be experienced. Death can result from discontinued breathing, paralysis of muscles of the respiratory system, intense constriction of the openings of the lung, or all three (6, 16). The onset of symptoms may be delayed up to 12 hours (16). The route, duration, and concentration of methomyl exposure will affect the severity of poisoning and the number and types of symptoms that occur. Complete recovery from an acute poisoning by methomyl, with no long term health effects, is possible if exposure ceases and the victim has time to reform their normal level of cholinesterase and to recover from symptoms (7, 26). (For more information on cholinesterase, please refer to the Toxicology Information Brief on Cholinesterase- Inhibition).
The public is being advised to not handle or touch any items located in any active or inactive marijuana garden site. The items in the site could potentially poison the person by the mere handling of the items; some of these chemicals can travel through exposed skin. Allowing your dog off leash in areas where one of these grows is located could also result in your dog being poisoned. If marijuana grow site is located leave the area immediately and notify local law enforcement.
On 07-29-2013, at approximately 7:00 a.m. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, United States Forest Service (U.S.F.S.) Agents , Hoopa Valley Tribal Police ( H.V.T.P.) Officers and the Cannabis Eradication and Reclamation Team (C.E.R.T.) conducted an open field investigation and eradication of a large marijuana cultivation site below the Brushy Mountain Lookout on Friday Ridge, Willow Creek. Three civilian scientific researchers with a background in wildlife, toxicology and ecology were with the officers when they entered the marijuana site. The officers eradicated 7521 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 4’ tall to 6’ tall. All the marijuana was being cultivated on United States Forest Service Land. While conducting the investigation the researchers and deputies located the following:
• 1230 lbs. dry fertilizer
• 28 lbs. liquid concentrated fertilizer
• 14 lbs. 2nd generation anticoagulant rodenticide bait
o enough to kill 2,246 woodrats or gray squirrels
o OR 12 fishers
o OR at least 4 spotted owls
• 32 oz. Carbaryl insecticide
• 32 oz. Carbofuran (banned chemical in United States due to its toxicity to people and wildlife)
o a 1/4 to 1/8 teaspoon is enough to kill a 300-400 black bear.
Deputies also located fresh hot dogs strung from a tree on treble fish hooks, along with two dead deer carcasses and a bird, a Hermit thrush. Officers also witnessed environmental damage to the watershed.
On 07-31-2013, at approximately 7:00 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies, USFS Agents, H.V.T.P. Officers and C.E.R.T. Officers conducted a marijuana investigation and eradication at another cultivation site located in the Supply Creek Watershed on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. The three researchers again accompanied the officers. The officers located and eradicated 8,473 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 3’ to 6’ tall.
On 8-1-2013, at approximately 9:00 a.m. the same team listed above with the researchers went to a third marijuana cultivation site located at Le-Terron Flat, Orleans , which is USFS property. The officers located and eradicated 376 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 3’ to 4’ tall. Agents also found a recently deceased Fisher in the garden site. Fishers are currently under review by the State and Federal Government to be listed as an endangered species. The officers and researchers again found environmental damage to the area.
A total of 1942 lbs of dry fertilizer, 58 lbs of liquid concentrate fertilizer, 17 pounds of second generation anticoagulant rodenticide bait were removed in total from the three sites. The rodenticide by itself had the potential to kill 2,753 wood rats, 14 fishers and 5 spotted owls per the researchers. Many of these toxicants were near creeks.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.