Monday, March 30, 2009

Deliberate crop spraying with Furadan kills birds

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Another worrisome Furadan story comes this time from Mt. Kenya's eastern slopes. It is here, in the hot dry country of Tharaka district, where rainfall is limited, and one of the few crops that can be grown is millet, that a friend of our reports the death of hundreds of red-billed queleas.
These diminutive birds, only 13 cm (5 inches) long from beak to tail-tip would be no challenge on their own. When they flock in their hundreds, or even thousands, they can create havoc as crop-raiders. There are reports of large flocks almost blotting out the sun, just like locusts.

In Tharaka, these migratory birds turned up at just the wrong time and attacked, if that is the right word, the millet crop just as it was ripening. The solution?

Somebody called somebody, and the next thing was the sight of a helicopter flying over the crops spraying something. Soon after that birds started to die, and our friend even had birds drop out of the sky on to the table in front of him. Necropsies confirmed Furadan.

What will happen to the people who harvest the poison-laced millet is unknown. Maybe a copious washing with water will remove the Furadan. It had better, as the stuff is potent, half a teaspoon being enough to kill an adult human.


Paula said...

After exposure on CBS 60 minutes, FMC have now said that they will withdraw Furadan from Kenya! Check out :)

Jerry Haigh said...

Brilliant Paula,
I have written to Mr. Fitzwater personally, and I hope that the ban is in place soon & holds across the continent. I am planning to post my letter to him on my next blog.