Poisoned baits for wildlife

Illegal marijuana farms are poisoning Pacific fishers

A threatened species is on the brink of disappearing as pot farms on public land dish out poisoned baits for wildlife.

Jaymi Heimbuch

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A young fisher gets its first taste of freedom in Yosemite National Park. Biologists saved the kit when the mother they’d been tracking was found dead, likely from predation. The High Sierra population of Pacific fisher is so vulnerable that researchers decided to take advantage of a rare opportunity to give the orphaned kit a second chance. (Photo: Morgan Heim)

“Don’t touch any bottles or cans you find,” Craig Thompson told us as we wound our way through oak and manzanita. “And if anything looks fresh, tell me.” Thompson is a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service and has been studying fisher populations in California for years, but it’s in the last six that his job has gotten a lot more complicated — and dangerous. Read more.