In March 2020, Health Canada announced a ban on the use of Strychnine on Richardson’s Ground Squirrels:
“An evaluation of available scientific information has not shown that risks to the environment are acceptable when strychnine is used according to the current conditions of registration, or when additional mitigation is considered.”
Environmental Precautions: Strychnine is a central nervous system stimulant. Convulsions may occur within 5 to 10 minutes of ingestion. This product is toxic to wildlife. Exposed baits and poisoned carcasses may be hazardous to birds and other wildlife. Do not leave exposed to non-target species. Baits exposed by animals feeding must be covered as per the DIRECTIONS FOR USE, or collected. All carcasses and uneaten bait must be disposed of by incineration or burial in a pit or no less than 46 cm (approximately 18 inches) deep and then covered to prevent non-target poisonings. Toxic to all forms of life. DO NOT APPLY THIS PRODUCT IF SPECIES AT RISK THAT MAY FEED ON STRYCHNINE BAIT OR ON POISONED CARCASSES ARE PRESENT IN YOUR AREA. For information on species at risk in your area, contact your local provincial or federal wildlife officials.
Clinical Signs and Pathology: The clinical signs of strychnine poisoning relate to its effects on the central nervous system. The first clinical signs include uneasiness, restlessness, anxiety, muscle twitching and stiffness of the neck. The animal is in severe pain and the pupils are dilated. These signs can resemble tetanus, with an increase in spinal reflexes leading to tonic convulsions characterized by sudden contractions of all striated muscles followed by complete relaxation. The animal becomes hypersensitive to external stimuli and the slightest noise or touch can trigger convulsions.