Concerned about wildlife poisoning, lobbies set up online data base t
IN 2005, while researching on Mackinder’s eagle owls around Nyeri in Kenya’s central highlands, conservationist Darcy Ogada realised that they were being poisoned.
Farmers were using tomatoes laced with Furadan, a toxic pesticide, to kill mice and mousebirds, which are prey for the Mackinder’s eagle owls, hence poisoning the owls as well.
Dr Ogada and others raised the alarm and Martin Odino, a young zoologist, documented the poisoning of birds, crocodiles, dogs, lions and other wildlife.
Furadan, which is registered as a nematicide, a pesticide to kill nematodes like soil worms, was also being used by pastoralists to poison lions and other big cats. In other places like Bunyala in western Kenya, it was being used to kill birds for human consumption.
The use of Furadan – with the lethal carbofuran as the active ingredient — was found to be rampant around rice schemes killing everything from snails to pigeons and storks.
Farm Machinery and Chemicals, the American manufacturer of Furadan, withdrew the agro-pesticide from Kenya in March 2009 and in May 2009 executed a buy-back of the stock after a conservationists, led by Wildlifedirect, pressed for its ban.
Although poisoning has been used for pest and wildlife control for years, its use to harvest food has worried conservationists.
“There are many poisons being used, but the worst are the carbamate pesticides,” Dr Ogada said. “They are easy to get, cheap and effective.”
It is easy for farmers, or anyone, to buy a number of lethal pesticides from agrovets in Kenya. With no monitoring by the regulators after approving pesticides for general use, it allows for their misuse including wildlife poisoning.
In the past five years, poachers across Africa have intensified the killing of vultures by poisoning carcasses of elephants killed for their tusks. Vultures are a dead giveaway to where a carcass is, as their overhead circling helps authorities to locate the poachers.
And it gets worse. Dr Ogada, who is now an assistant director Africa Programmes at the Peregrine Fund which is running the United Against Wildlife Poisoning campaign Mara Lions and Bir says watering holes ed by poisons.
The lobbies have base that document help establish the d soning. The data is fepoisoning.org.
“The database wi guments about regu and give us a better motivation for the p stop it,” she said.
In Africa, the mo ing of wildlife is in some hotspots in Ea low numbers reflect
There are many poisons being used, but the worst are the carbamate pesticides.” Dr Darcy Ogada, conservationist