Feds consider use of mouse poison in CA sanctuary

By JASON DEAREN | May 20, 2011 | 2:58 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is studying a plan to kill off non-native house mice with poison on the Farallon Islands, a federal marine sanctuary off the coast of Northern California.

The proposal to drop pellets of mouse poison on the pristine environment demonstrates the balancing act faced by wildlife managers as they seek to eradicate one species to benefit another.

The proposal has drawn criticism from conservation groups that say it will harm many creatures throughout the food chain.

At risk is the Ashy Storm-petrel, a seabird with a global population estimated at no more than 10,000. The Farallons are one of its two major nesting sites.

The mice draw the attention of hungry migratory burrowing owls, which also feed on Storm-petrel eggs.