For Immediate Release, February 14, 2014

Contact: Jonathan Evans, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x 318

Dog Owned by Scientist Studying Rat Poison Is Poisoned: Reward Offered

Wildlife Scientist's Research Highlights Dangers of Rodenticides on Wildlife

ARCATA, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity today announced a $2,500 reward for information about the fatal poisoning of a Northern California dog owned by a leading researcher studying how the same controversial poison affects endangered species.

Justice for Nyxo
A PDF of this poster is available for download here.

The dog named Nyxo died on February 3rd, 2014. He belonged to Dr. Mourad Gabriel, who has been investigating how the highly toxic rat poison brodifacoum threatens wildlife, including Pacific fishers and northern spotted owls. A necropsy revealed that the dog had ingested red meat laced with brodifacoum.

“Nyxo was a handsome rescue dog who accompanied us on many research projects,” said Gabriel. “Whether we were studying the mountain yellow-legged frog or spotted owl, he always had an inquisitive demeanor and vigorous spirit while joining us on conservation projects.”

Dr. Gabriel discovered Nyxo was having seizures and had vomited red meat, which the family had not fed to the dog. The dog was immediately taken to a local veterinarian, who was unable to save the animal’s life. Dr. Gabriel drove Nyxo’s body to a laboratory at the University of California at Davis, where a necropsy determined that Nyxo had died of brodifacoum poisoning.

“The evidence strongly suggests that this malicious poisoning is tied to Dr. Gabriel’s research and if that is true we condemn the use of violence to silence any scientist, researcher or citizen whose work aims to conserve wildlife,” said Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This tragedy is yet another example of how the reckless use and sale of these poisons is ruining lives by indiscriminately killing pets and wildlife. It’s time to permanently ban these poisons.”

The state of California and the Environmental Protection Agency have taken steps to ban hazardous d-CON products containing brodifacoum because of the documented poisonings of children, pets and wildlife. Brodifacoum in d-CON products is still being sold because the manufacturer of d-CON, Reckitt Benckiser, is currently challenging the EPA cancellation order.

Anticoagulant rodenticides interfere with blood clotting, resulting in uncontrollable bleeding that leads to death. Second-generation anticoagulants — including brodifacoum — are especially hazardous and persist for a long time in body tissues.   

A coalition of nonprofit organizations, municipalities, businesses and scientists formed the Safe Rodent Control Coalition to promote effective, affordable rodent-control strategies that protect children, pets and wildlife. Groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity and Raptors are the Solution continue to educate the public about the dangers of anticoagulant rodenticides. 

Individuals wishing to contribute to the fund can visit or call 520-623-5252 x 323. Please make sure to note that your contribution is being made to honor Nyxo.

Anyone with information about Nyxo’s poisoning is encouraged to contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539. Click here for more information.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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