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Dead squirrels in park lead Richmond RCMP to probe ‘toxic substance’ found in trees

Police aren’t sure if the chemical was dumped there or placed intentionally

Mounties are investigating a “toxic substance” after squirrels were found sick and dead in a Richmond park last week.

Police said that they found the substance around some trees in South Arm Park on Thursday (June 9). They’ve identified the substance as 1-Octanethiol, a compound used in the production of other chemicals which can be dangerous to people and animals if not handled correctly.

“The origin of the toxin is still under investigation,” said Cpl. Ian Henderson of the Richmond RCMP. “Fortunately the resident recognized something was wrong when she started seeing a number of dead and sick squirrels.”

Henderson said police haven’t received any reports of pets or people falling sick, nor has the substance been reported in any other parks.

Mounties aren’t sure how the substance ended up in that park.

“How and why this toxic material ended up here is still under investigation. Whether it was placed in specific locations intentionally or simply dumped in the park, this substance has no place here, and our investigators are working to determine who was responsible,” says Henderson.

Richmond RCMP are asking anyone who sees someone apply a substance to the base of trees is asked to call 604-278-1212, quoting file number 21-15615.

Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit them online at


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