Bunnings to separate ‘napalm for rodents’ on its cabinets

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Bunnings will separate first and second generation rat poisons on its shelves and provide better information on how to use them, amid concerns that some of the potent pesticides may inadvertently kill owls and other wildlife.

The move comes after two Rival teens wrote to the hardware giant asking them to better control the use of second generation rat poisons known as “rodent napalm” after seeing a sick boobook owl who were believed to have been poisoned with the toxin.

A blood-thinning chemical used in second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) is known to remain active for months and pass through the food chain, causing secondary poisoning of animals that eat the dead and die.

Adrian Pearce, general manager of merchandise at Bunnings, said they were in the process of rolling out the precautions in all stores across the country, which should be completed by the end of next month.

Camera iconA southern boobook owl at the local animal rescue service in Malaga. Photo credit: David Baylis/Community news

“Bunnings will implement the separation of rodenticide varieties on our shelves and group relevant products, including naturally derived rodenticides,” he said.

“In addition, we will be working with our learning and development team and our suppliers in the coming months to develop further training courses for team members and to provide customers with more information on the optimal use of rodenticides and the various products available.”

Lorelei, 11, was walking her sister Phryne, 8, and father Damien Smith on the Copley Reservation in March when they found the sick owl.

They took the animal to the Native Animal Rescue in Malaga, where a rescuer said it was likely that the owl had ingested rat poison.

Lorelei said after researching the issue, she wrote to the CEO of Bunnings, urging the company to clearly separate first and second generation rat poisons on its shelves and make better information available to the public.

Phryne Barnes-Smith and Lorelei Barnes-Smith.Camera iconPhryne Barnes-Smith and Lorelei Barnes-Smith. Photo credit: David Baylis/Community news

“We went to Bunnings and found that there were first-generation and second-generation rat poison boxes mixed up on your shelves and indistinguishable,” she wrote in the letter.

“This is bad because people can’t tell the difference and there isn’t any information in your stores about how the poison is used so it doesn’t harm owls.

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“We think you should make it as hard to buy second generation rat poison as a can of spray paint.

“We should protect our owls so that future generations can see them in the wild.”