On Tuesday, 13 April 2010, WildlifeDirect and the WWF will be joining a battery of government officials at the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss the effect of carbofuran (Furadan) use on wildlife. This meeting has been called by the Agriculture Secretary following WildlifeDirect’s campaign to raise awareness about – and demanding action for – poisoning of lions, birds of prey and other wildlife by deliberate and unintended misuse of this lethal pesticide.
Though the Agriculture Secretary is acting in reaction to the Prime Ministers hard questions to the Ministry of Agriculture regarding their inaction on the issue of wildlife poisoning, it is still a welcome gesture that they are now willing to discuss this weighty matter. WildlifeDirect had written to the Prime Minister as a last resort after Ministry officials and the bosses at the Pest Control Products Board failed to respond decisively to reports of wildlife poisoning that we supplied.
Tomorrow’s meeting comes in a time when FMC is going to court in a last ditch to try and rescue Furadan in the parent country, the USA. FMC, through their lawyers, will be defending their appeal to stop a US-wide ban on the product. Should their appeal fail, then it will be a victory for wildlife at the very source of the lion-killer pesticide. Elsewhere, FMC has affirmed that even though they are defending their product in the mother country, they have no intention of re-introducing it back to Kenya (and East Africa), where they have withdrawn it from the market.
Even as this is going on, the wrath of this indiscriminate killer has been felt in Scotland where the number of birds of prey diying of pesticide poisoning is on the rise. A report by Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent for the Guardian UK, has revealed that up to 27 birds of prey were poisoned in 2009. The report says that this is one of the worst years for wildlife crime in the country.
“The majority of poisonings carried out across Scotland use Carbofuran, an illegal pesticide in the UK which is also potentially dangerous to humans. It is thought that old stocks of the chemical, which was banned in Britain in 2001, are still being used.” Says another report published at the end of March in the Edinburgh Evening News.
And in Botswana, 40 white-backed vultures were killed in one poisoning incident in Lesoma (a village in North-West District of Botswana) on the week that started on 8 March. In a report appearing in one of Botswana’s leading online paper, MmegiOnline, the poisoning follows another incident in January where 15 white-backed vultures were found dead at Tito village cattle-post after they were poisoned. And in November last yeat, according to the same article in MmegiOnline, “50 globally threatened vultures were poisoned in the Xudum Concession in the fringes of the Okavango. In the incident white-backed and hooded vultures, together with yellow-billed kites, were found dead at two giraffe carcases that had been laced with poison.”
It is incidents like this that motivate us at WildlifeDirect and the Stop Wildlife Poisoning Committee to keep fighting for the ban of this dangerous pesticide here in Kenya as an example to other African and non-African states so that the whole world can be rid of this pestilence.
We will inform you of the outcome of our meeting with the Kenya government officials.