City of Regina dispersing poisonous bait to control gopher population

·2 min read
The Richardson's ground squirrel, better known in the Prairies as a gopher, was declared a pest by Saskatchewan's provincial government in 2010. (Monty Kruger/CBC - image credit)
The Richardson's ground squirrel, better known in the Prairies as a gopher, was declared a pest by Saskatchewan's provincial government in 2010. (Monty Kruger/CBC - image credit)

The City of Regina is posting warning signs around the city in areas where it will spread poisonous bait to control an overpopulation of gophers.

The Richardson's ground squirrel, better known in the Prairies as a gopher, was declared a pest by Saskatchewan's provincial government in 2010. That requires the City of Regina to control the rodents on publicly owned property, the city said in a Friday press release.

To do that, the city is applying Rozol RTU, a Health Canada-approved pesticide, in 23 spots around the city. Those spots will be identified with yellow signs.

The pesticide will be used in "buffer zones," the city said, like along storm channels, and roadways and railway areas — but not in athletic fields or traditional park spaces.

"Spring is the best time for application as the gophers emerge from their burrows in search of food," the release said.

The pesticide's product information label says all dead animals and unconsumed bait need to be disposed of properly.

The city said staff will visit the sites daily as the program continues over the next several weeks to clean up the areas.

The signs will remain for "several weeks," the city says, and will only be removed "once staff are satisfied that the site is clear of product."

Residents with dogs are asked to keep them leashed near the affected areas, or to avoid those areas entirely.

The pesticide is an anticoagulant that causes the animals to die from hemorrhaging. A report submitted to the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund in 2009 said it can take hours or days for a gopher to die.

According to the Saskatchewan government's page on controlling gophers, the anticoagulants lead to "an apparently painless death."

It also states the bait should be placed in areas that are inaccessible to other animals or in tamper-resistant bait stations.

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