Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Illegal pot growing damages forest land

Officials at California's Los Padres National Forest told Cindy Von Quednow, for Scripps Howard News Service that illegal pot-growers are causing big problems. Sgt. Mike Horne of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department narcotics bureau said not only do growers kill animals that get in the way of their gardens, but they also set up shop in natural habitats, poisoning water and land. (Photo by Santa Barbara County Sherriff's Department of marijuana eradication effort in Los Padres National Forest)

The growers harm plants and animals by overuse of fertilizers, diverting streams and constant tramping through the forest, which scares off the animals.  "Poaching, pollution and habitat destruction all go hand in hand with marijuana cultivation," said Patrick Foy, a warden with the California Department of Fish and Game. Small animals are specifically poisoned to protect crops, deer are naturally drawn to the marijuana and bears like the food that growers leave behind. "When bears come to a camp, they're not shot in the lungs or the head, they're shot in the gut so they run away," Foy said. "They purposefully inflict mortal wounds to animals so they suffer for hours before they die." (Read more)

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