06 Sep Helping gamekeepers adapt for 2024 rodenticide changes
To help gamekeepers prepare for next year’s rodenticide authorisation changes, which effectively will rule out using any second-generation anticoagulant (SGAR) in open areas away from buildings, the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use is appealing for practical questions that need addressing.
CRRU chairman Dr Alan Buckle acknowledges the challenge facing gamekeepers to modify their use of various integrated control measures for lasting and affordable, environmentally responsible and wildlife-aware control of rodent vermin, mainly rats in open area situations.
“Of course, doing so may not be particularly straightforward and will certainly demand sound knowledge of what next year’s changes to SGAR authorisations involve and why they are being made,” he says.
A summary of the changes can be found at tinyurl.com/yc6phzkx. Gamekeepers are invited to submit questions to CRRU by the end of October at thinkwildlife.org/survey. Dr Buckle emphasises that there is no such thing as a daft question, and a compilation of questions and responses will be published by CRRU in November.
“Giving credit where it’s due,” he says, “the British Pest Control Association has recently conducted such an exercise among its members and we want to extend this to gamekeepers.”
In addition to the detail of next year’s changes, it is also important to understand the context. An HSE-led panel is the official body to which CRRU reports for its management of the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime.
“An uncomfortable truth is that, seven years since inception, the regime’s environmental targets have not been met,” Dr Buckle adds. “Responsible gamekeepers will be all too aware that many wildlife species, especially avian and mammalian predators and scavengers, are widely exposed to and contaminated by SGARs.
“The widespread nature of this exposure is a grave concern and what the stewardship regime is required to reduce. The panel’s specified sentinel species, of course, whose exposure to SGARs is indicative of several others with similar ecology, is the barn owl.
“HSE has said that, unless the stewardship regime’s environmental targets are met, there will be a review of who can use SGARs, how they are used and where they can be applied. Clearly, we have been warned.”