Redwood forests have shrunk in northern California and have taken a heavy toll on the Humboldt marten population. There are believed to be only a few pockets in Oregon and three northern California counties with 100 in the former and another 200 in the others. The animals have lost their habitat to cannabis cultivation and are heading towards extinction.

According to The Guardian, the state of California wants to add them to the list of endangered species. Its survival is threatened due to not only deforestation and, the consequent loss of habitat but also from the fast-growing cannabis industry. There are other species like the spotted owl, barred owl and others that have fallen prey to poisonous substances like rat poison that are normally used by cannabis farmers.

Martens could be wiped out

Loss of different species of wildlife like the martens can happen when the environment is disturbed. This is more evident when greenery is sacrificed in the name of development. Since cannabis is legalized in many states, there is a growth in this sector, and the farmers go in for fertilizers to increase the yield [VIDEO] along with poisonous chemicals to protect the plants. The net result is the dwindling population of wildlife.

California wants to extend protection to them by the tag of endangered species, but that will be applicable only within the state. The authorities must try to obtain federal protection. Then only can they protect the animals that roam on the land which is federally owned in the state. Incidentally, in Oregon, it is legal to trap them commercially.

There is no limit on the number that can be caught, and this is another major threat because their silky, mink-like pelts can fetch a good price in the fur market.

Save the martens from extinction

CNN adds that the Humboldt martens survive on squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and insects, apart from fruits and reptiles. Their population is in a few hundred at present which is a matter of concern. This has led the authorities in California to include them in the list of endangered species. Some conservation groups in Oregon also want to bring them under the state's Endangered Species Act.

The major threats to these species stem from environmental issues like wildfires, urbanization, climate change, and Marijuana cultivation. These animals are usually found in Northern California counties where legal and illegal marijuana growth flourishes, because of its remoteness and water sources. The pesticides that farmers use to protect marijuana is, in fact, a killer for the martens.