Barry, the Central Park truck-killed owl, had ‘life-threatening’ levels of rat poison in his system

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The beloved Central Park owl that captivated jaded New Yorkers before being killed in a collision with a truck had dangerous and “potentially fatal” levels of rat poison in its system, the researchers said on Tuesday. authorities.

Barry, a 2-year-old barred owl and celebrity in Manhattan’s avid birdwatching community, died when a Central Park Conservancy maintenance vehicle struck her in early August 6.

But what was unknown at the time of death was the level of poison in Barry’s liver, which could have impaired his ability to fly and possibly avoid the truck, the organization first reported on Monday evening. The City nonprofit digital press release.

The Wildlife Health Unit of the State Department for Environmental Conservation performed an autopsy on August 10. While “the final diagnosis is that the owl died of a blunt trauma consistent with a car accident,” the examiners also found the rat poisons bromadiolone and difethialone in the creature’s liver, according to a summary from the autopsy.

“The level of bromadiolone is potentially fatal but it is not known whether it played a direct role in the death of this owl, i.e. whether the anticoagulant affected the owl’s ability to avoid a collision. with the vehicle “, according to the report.

“There is no way to definitively determine this. Regardless of the collision with a vehicle, this barred owl was at high risk of fatal hemorrhage from secondary exposure to bromadiolone in poisoned prey, probably rats, mice, chipmunks and squirrels, ”he said. .

The report cited no evidence that Barry was intentionally poisoned.

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has banned the use of rat poisons found in Barry, but it would have no control over rodenticides beyond the park’s borders, a spokesperson for the park said on Tuesday. the agency.

The park uses “rodenticides that are listed as having a ‘low to moderately low’ non-target animal risk,” said Park Representative Crystal Howard.

“Predatory birds must hunt for food and often, like their prey, find their food outside of the park boundaries,” Howard said in a statement. “NYC Parks is committed to integrated pest management because our parks are home to many birds of prey, where we have made a lot of progress, especially in the parks where they nest. “

While pigeons are the Big Apple’s best-known birds, owls have also found a way to nest in the hearts of many New Yorkers.

A little owl rose to big stardom last year after it was discovered in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, which was shot in upstate New York and trucked 170 miles outside of the city .

The adult male Saw-whet, the smallest variety of owl in the northeast, was rehabilitated after days without food and water. He was named Rockefeller and then released.


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