Striving for better post-Furadan poisoning days-Part 1

Hi everyone.Furadan withdrawal by FMC comes with renewed hope that Kenya’s wildlife should thrive again, especially the lions and birds that have been worst hit Furadan poisoning. We acknowledge the delicate situation that comes with the withdrawal of the poison and that there may be complications resulting to continued poisoning. At Wildlife Direct and I believe the entire conservation community, we are dedicated to try and stop the situation in the least almost altogether. To this effect, we are meeting with the manufacturers of Furadan, FMC, this week as highlighted in the Richard Leakey blog and Wildlife Direct’s press release on 8/April/2009 to among other things, share and discuss the withdrawal process and related underlying issues.

In Bunyala area, I honestly anticipate incapacitated poisoning of birds even with the small scale Furadan vendors in the scene. This is because I hope their Furadan stock is dismal and will soon run out if the withdrawal process is successful. In this area, I know at least 7 pairs of captive African Open-billed Storks due to the practice of using Furadan for poisoning. My hope is that these enslaved birds will soon find freedom!


The pesticide’s withdrawal process should yield emancipation for such poor captives as in the photo above.

It has also come to my attention that most poachers are not only poachers. Some are watchmen at night, some work in the rice scheme as subordinate staff, others are herdsmen and even fishermen. However, a few are specialized poachers. Generally numerous other economic activities besides poaching take place in Bunyala. May be this is a good thing in the sense that most of the poachers have an alternative activity to fall back to. I took photos of people involved in some of these:



This fisherman traps fish in the irrigation canals of Bunyala Rice Scheme. His economic activity seems to yield gains at least nutritionwise judging from his healthy look! Honestly I cannot compare him to the diminished physiques of the bird poachers.


Some people are productively involved in the transport sector. This young man and his colleagues offer my team bicycle taxi services when we are out in Bunyala for fieldwork.


The photograph above was taken at the bank of River Nzoia, one of Kenya’s prime rivers. The final stages of the river snake through Bunyala. It is a pity that destructive economic activities, particularly vegetation clearing and charcoal burning are taking place in its vicinity.


Some engage in sand harvesting from the river as seen in the photo, probably a better undertaking if done correctly.

So, will the poachers, deprived of Furadan take to ‘back door’ sources of poison, be it Furadan or other, to continue with the unsustainable wildlife poisoning or other destructive economic activities? This is what for the sake of conservation I wish to avert. But how?


River Nzoia, above is an all year round source of water in the region.


The rains, though inconsistent, when they come they fill to flooding the plains of Bunyala with water. The photo above was taken in Bunyala just before the end of my last month’s survey. The skies were readying to send the rains down.

Bunyala is characterized by high poverty prevalence. With uncontrolled bird poisoning having evolved with the availability of Furadan, the people against their knowledge have for long suffered nutritional injustices from eating poisoned bird meat. Further, vitamin-rich foods in the area are markedly deficient. I believe harnessing the water resource appropriately can make vegetable farming possible and an attractive, lucrative venture compared to poaching, a destructive, unhealthy, time consuming and a means of survival rather than an economic developmental activity. While this will take care of nutritional needs of the community, it will satiate the economic needs of the liberated poachers. It is this option that I want to market to the poachers and will give you details while calling for your support.

Please keep reading

Bookmark and Share

One Comment

  1. Brenton H
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for the blog and the latest update. I am one who will be continuing to read. There are many confronting and challenging blogs on Wildlife Direct but at the beginning, I found it very dificult to read about the insidious nature of such poisoning. The photos have been devastating but very effective and I cannot imagine the ‘reality’ for you at the end of the day to go home after what you have witnessed. You have received some donations which is great. I think you should not hesitate to ask for donations for your work and it is probably a good idea to spell out more specifics of how people can assist your work. For the birds of Kenya and those who migrate across many lands, I thankyou for your dedication and committment. Brenton.

Post a Comment