Nairobi. The government of Kenya has launched a campaign against Quelia, a small red-beaked bird. Under this, the government has set a target of killing 60 lakh birds. It is the most populous bird species in the world, also known as the ‘winged grasshopper’. Quelia always live in herds and their nomadic colony can have up to 30 million birds. These little birds eat crops like wheat, barley, rice, sunflower and corn and this is the reason behind the campaign to kill them.
In fact, the eastern countries of the African continent such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya and South Sudan, called the Horn of Africa, are facing their longest and worst drought in history. Millions of people are facing the threat of starvation due to this drought. Due to this severe drought that has been going on for a long time, the grasslands have become completely clean. The seeds of these grasses are the main food source of Quelia birds. In such a situation, after the grass is over, now these birds are rapidly attacking the grain fields.
What is the reason behind killing these little birds?
According to media reports, these birds have so far devoured 300 acres of rice crop in Kenya. Quoting the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in media reports, it has been told that a flock of two million quenia birds can eat 50 tonnes of grain in a day. The report claimed that farmers in western Kenya have lost about 60 tonnes of grain due to these birds. For this reason, a campaign has been launched to kill these birds.
Disadvantages of Killing Quelia
Spraying with fenthion is the preferred method for fighting the pests in Africa. Researchers have described this insecticide as ‘poisonous to humans and other organisms’. In media reports, experts have warned against the use of fenthion to kill the red-billed quellia.
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The English newspaper The Guardian quoted Simon Thomset, director of the Kenya Birds of Prey Trust, as saying, ‘People on the raptor conservation side are very concerned about the spraying of fenthion. Today, all raptors (in Kenya) are endangered. We also have to see how effective spraying has been in the last 60 to 70 years?
Quelia has been frequently attacked in many African countries. Last year, when more than 20 million Quelia birds attacked crops in Tanzania, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations released $500,000 to the Tanzanian government to help with pesticide spraying, monitoring and capacity building.
Tags: Bird, Kenya
FIRST PUBLISHED : January 17, 2023, 22:11 IST