Buffalo from the David Meyer ranches in North Dakota and South Dakota remain under quarantine following the illegal use of a poison used to kill prairie dogs.
The quarantine includes about 900 buffalo that grazed in one small pasture of Meyer’s former Cannonball Ranch near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation as well as on the former Wilder Ranch to the south. The adult buffalo are under quarantine until September, though yearlings were released from the no-sale hold on Jan. 1.
The situation dates to April, when six dead bald eagles and dead bison were discovered at the former Wilder Ranch. An Environmental Protection Agency-led investigation found that 40,000 pounds of Rozol poison had been illegally distributed across more than 5,400 acres on both ranches, according to EPA documents.
Meyer sold the Cannonball Ranch to Dakota Access Pipeline for a reported $18 million five months after the Rozol incident. The company bought the ranch to facilitate construction of the pipeline. Hundreds and at times thousands of protesters have demonstrated against the pipeline and have occupied nearby encampments.
The EPA said responsibility for Rozol monitoring transfers with ownership. Documents show that only one 80-acre pasture was illegally laced with the Rozol on the Cannonball Ranch out of a bigger spread of about 7,000 acres. Nearly all was spread around various pastures at the former Wilder Ranch, where the dead eagles were documented.
Instead of being applied into the prairie dog burrows, the bright blue poison pellets were broadcast on the ground, according to EPA findings. Dead prairie dogs were left where they died instead of being regularly removed to protect other wildlife. Dead bison were also found as recently as August, documents said. The poison causes animals to bleed to death.
The EPA documents include an administrative order detailing the discovery of the poison, a clean-up plan and quarantine order, as well as notes from a follow-up interagency meeting in the fall. Meyer is identified as the responsible party and the agency’s point of contact in the documents. The documents also note that Meyer did not have proper pesticide certification to apply the Rozol.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awaits lab results of whether the eagles definitively died of Rozol ingestion and federal charges could be brought in the matter, says agency investigator Rich Grosz.
Bald eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, with a possible $100,000 fine and a year’s imprisonment for their death.
The EPA ordered Meyer to till the Rozol into the soil and to monitor the area for dead animals. Because of concerns of human consumption of Rozol-infected meat, the order prevents Meyer from selling the adult bison until Sept. 1 and then only after consulting a veterinarian and the EPA.
What Is ROZOL
ROZOL is an oil concentrate that can be used to exterminate mice, rats, moles, muskrats, voles and vampire bats. It is described as an “anticoagulant rodenticide,” which inhibits the enzyme vitamin K epoxide reductase that normally reactivates vitamin K. Vitamin K is a critical factor for normal clotting factors.
One of the biggest problems with anticoagulant poisonings, such as ROZOL, is that victims remain asymptomatic. Meaning that they do not always produce or show any symptoms of a poisoning. Even when hypoprothrombinemia occurs, the patient can still show no signs of poisoning.
Hypoprothrombinemia is a blood disorder that causes a deficiency of prothrombin resulting with an impairment for blood clotting. The impaired blood clotting can then lead to a higher risk of bleeding, along with the gastrointestinal system, cranial vault, and superficial integumentary system. Hemorrhages can occur when high doses of anticoagulants are ingested.
Symptoms And Signs Of Poisoning
Those exposed to large doses of ROZOL can experience hematuria, (blood in the urine), nosebleeds, hematomata, (solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissue), bleeding gums, melena, (dark sticky feces containing partly digested blood), abdominal and back pain reflect hemorrhage in the abdominal and retroperitoneal tissues.
Weakness and fatigue can occur as a result of the anemia. Renal colic, a type of pain that comes from kidney stones, often causes complications of hematuria. Nasal and gastrointestinal hemorrhages have been the cause of death due to exsanguination, (the act of draining blood from a person or animal).
ROZOL poisoning in humans can occur from ingesting the poison or absorbing it through the skin. However, ROZOL does not cause a constant cough like what those suffering from camp cough have described and have many symptoms those with camp cough lack.
The anticoagulant drug made for humans Warfarin describes possible side effects as clotting due to not taking enough, or bleeding due to excessive anticoagulation, mainly in the gastrointestinal or intracerebral.
Severe headache, confusion, weakness or numbness
Coughing up large amounts of bright red blood
Bleeding that will not stop
Bright red blood in stool
Fall or injury to the head
Headache that is severe or unusual
Overall, it appears that ROZOL may not be the guilty party behind the camp cough, but there could be some who have been at camp who are suffering from ROZOL poisoning. If anybody who has been at camp is suffering from any of the above symptoms, it may not be a bad idea to seek medical attention and request to be checked for ROZOL poisoning.