CAVE CREEK, AZ — Arizona wildlife - it's as much of the desert landscape as the Saguaro. And when you live in a place like Cave Creek, you get to enjoy the sight often.
"Everyday you see deer, coyote, javelina and bobcats," Paul Diefenderfer said.
"They're everywhere out here."Diefenderfer is a Cave Creek Councilman and a volunteer at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale.
He said an alarming number of wild animals are dying from eating rodents that have ingested rat poisoning."Most people don't realize there is a secondary effect," he said.
Often after a rodent eats rodenticide, it continues to travel before it dies. It may end up yards from where it ate the poison.
Yolande Grill knows all about it. Except she didn't find wild animals, her own pets died.
"I was in grief for a long time about it," she said. She believes her former neighbors set out rat poison and the rodents eventually crawled into her yard after ingesting it.
With the help of Diefenderfer, they started the group Cave Creek Cares to educate the town on the issue."People don't understand that a mouse on front (of the package), it doesn't stop with (killing) mice," said Linda Searles, Director of Southwest Wildlife, said.
Searles said animals that eat the poison can rarely be saved. "It's a horrible way to die, Searles said. "It's prolonged and very painful and agonizing."
Cave Creek Cares is calling on store owners to educate consumers when they buy the product, and is also encouraging them to start carrying alternatives like zappers and traps.
To read more about the group's efforts, you can visit their website.