Toxic chemicals used to rid rodents from illicit marijuana gardens in the Sierra Nevada range and elsewhere in California may have inadvertently poisoned dozens of vulnerable weasel-like mammals called fishers, according to a new study. Biologists from UC Davis, the nonprofit Integral Ecology Research Center, and state and federal land agencies found that nearly 80 percent of a sample size of fishers found dead in the wild were exposed directly or indirectly to anticoagulant rodenticides, rat poison. They point to illegal marijuana cultivation as a likely culprit for the introduction of the chemicals to remote areas where the animals live. The study, which documented exposure to such poisons in fishers for the first time, raises questions about the threat to other rare forest predators, such as the Sierra Nevada red fox, wolverine, gray wolf and various owl species. It also raises questions about the long-term environmental impacts from marijuana gardens treated with the poisons, which have become increasingly toxic as rodents build resistance to the chemicals. Nearly all of the fishers that died after coming into contact with the anticoagulants were exposed to highly toxic versions of the chemical. Authorities worry that the toxic chemicals could harm humans in more insidious ways, by smoking or ingesting marijuana that has been contaminated by rat poison, insecticides and other chemicals that ward off pests.