Category Archives: Masai Mara

Vultures poisoned in the Masai Mara

Dear Friends,
It’ is another sad day for wildlife in Kenya. We have just heard that at least vultures were poisoned after consuming a wildebeest carcass laced with a pinkish-purple powder in the periphery of Siana Conservancy adjacent to the Masai Mara National Reserve.This could be Furadan or Marshal (a carbosulfate) – both are produced by FMC.
It is not clear why the local community would lace a wildebeest.
The information has been sent to us by Munir Virani from Will Cowell, Leleshwa Camp, Paul Kirui, Sammy Nkoitoi and Lesaimon Sankai. We thank then  for all their help. Enoch from WildlifeDirect is on the scene as well as Kenya Wildlife Service who have taken samples.

We will post updates as information becomes available

Carbofuran hearings in USA and Kenya

According to internet sources, “FMC and three national growers groups filed a petition in November 2009 with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging EPA’s action to deny an Administrative Hearing. In December 2009, the court denied a request for a stay, granted our request for expedited review, and granted the request of CLA and others to file amicus briefs. Both the EPA and FMC filed briefs and the court heard oral arguments this past Monday, March 22. As is generally the case, the judges did not decide from the bench, and instead will issue their ruling by written opinion. While there is no fixed deadline for publication, we expect a decision within two to five months.”

And, Salem-news.com reports that “Opening arguments were heard in an appeal starting yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that will decide the fate of carbofuran, one of the most toxic pesticides to birds. American Bird Conservancy (ABC) – the nation’s leading bird conservation organization – hopes the judge’s gavel will sound the death knell for this chemical in the United States, which is thought to have caused the deaths of tens of millions of birds since its use began in 1965.

Carbofuran, which is produced by FMC Corp, is an insecticide used to kill pests on corn, soy beans, cotton, potatoes, and other crops. It has already been much restricted, with the most dangerous, granular formulation that was estimated by the EPA to have killed up to three million birds per year (though other estimates suggest up to 90 million birds were killed), banned in 1994 and restricted uses only to the liquid formulation, which is also highly toxic. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began the process of cancelling all uses in 2006. In an unprecedented move, FMC fought the cancellation, necessitating a protracted Agency hearing process and court battle leading to today’s final appeal”

Well things are hotting up here in Kenya too.

In response to our complaints and reports, the Ministry of Agriculture has created a task force to address the problem of Furadan and our first meeting is tomorrow. At that meeting will be government departments as well as industry and NGO participants. We are hoping  to impress on the stakeholders, the need for a precautionary approach when dealing with pesticides in this country. To date the Ministry of Agriculture and the Pest Control Products Board have been stating that Furadan is a “safe pesticide” and that the “benefits outweigh the harm”.

We do not know what this judgement is based on as we are not aware of any research that proves thisn, or any regular monitoring of howt eh pesticide is being distributed, used, whether proper use is enforced, or monitoring of residues on food crops, impacts on health or environmental.

Based on our own work we know that the labeled instructions are hardly ever implemented due to lack of safety materials (gloves, overalls, boots, face masks, air filters), most farmers do not store this or any pesticide under lock and key, and the pesticides are used in water ways, in irrigation schemes and for elimination of vermin all of which is against the instructions on the label. When people are harmed by this pesticide they do not report to the PCPB  or national Poison board. According to one agrovet and a victim we spoke to, there is no guidance for treatment of pesticide poisoning, they simply advise users to drink water or milk, and eat raw eggs as a remedy.

Though FMC and our government agencies have not exactly been sympathetic about the impacts  of carbofuran on wildlife, I keep reminding our friends that we should not feel so helpless. Our Pesticide control laws are on our side. The Pesticide Control Act allows for the Minister for Agriculture to ban any registered pesticide if new information becomes available; The EPA revocation of carbofuran tolerances in USA constitutes new information and this is something they cannot deny. No country in Africa can afford a Silent Spring, Kenya can be proud to lead the way on saying no to becoming a pesticide dumping ground for pesticides banned in the west.

As Richard Leakey says “If Furadan is not safe enough for use in America, then it’s not safe enough for us to use in Africa”

The problem of pesticide poisoning of predators is not unique to Kenya. All across Africa pesticides are being used as an easy and effective way of killing. A case in point is the recent tragic poisoning of 40 critically endangered vultures in Botswana. Though the pesticide has not been identified, it is extremely potent and took only minute to kill the birds. The tragedy is that these  birds were killed on the edge of the Okovango Swamp. They were the casualty in an attempt to kill lions and hyenas. Despite the heavy  penalties in Botswana the poisoning of wildlife using pesticides is driving vultures to extinction.

Although FMC have removed Fruadan from teh shelves in Kenya,  we are asking our government for a complete ban on Carbofuran to prevent other producers from distributing it, and to make the message crystal clear. We want Agrovets that are storing this and other  unapproved products to know that it is illegal and to enable enforcement officers to take action. To date the Governmetn of Kenya has been mum on the hazards posed by Furadan and carbofuran based pesticides.

So, wherever you are, please keep us in your thoughts and send positive vibrations tomorrow. We will presenting new evidence of the lion deaths near Amboseli as well as the preliminary findings of Martins research in the irrigation schemes.

Keep supporting us, we are confident that we can make progress on this deadly pesticide.

Keep reading this blog for updates

Court rules against FMC on Carbofuran ban

Dear Friends,

We have just heard from the Defenders of Wildlife that the DC Circuit yesterday rejected a request by FMC Corporation, the manufacturer of carbofuran, and several U.S. users of carbofuran, for a stay of EPA’s decision to revoke food tolerances of the deadly pesticide. FMC and some organizations were trying to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing their decision at the end of this year.

This court ruling means that the EPA’s decision to revoke all tolerances of carbofuran will take effect after December 31, 2009.

However it does not affect exports of Furadan – one of the the primary causes of death of lions in Africa.

Poisoned lions

The Defenders of Wildlife are running their own campaign to ban Carbofuran.

10 more lions poisoned in Masai Mara

WildlifeDirect has been raising the alarm about cattle in Kenya’s parks for some time know – cattle grazing in the park will lead to conflict with lions and this has an inevitable outcome. CAttle will die and then lions will be killed  in retaliation.  We warned of diseases when cattle started dying in the parks, and Dino wrote about it in his blog dudu diaries here.  The authorities ignored our comments and concerns about the cattle invasion when we warned that an Anthrax outbreak would affect cattle, wildlife and people.  I even went on radio about it and finally it seems, people woke up and began to listen.

In a recent article in the Daily Nation, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) admitted that

A total of 10 lions have been killed by herders who have lost their cattle to the large cats. In one case, farmers poisoned a carcass and it left for the lions. It killed not just a lion, but also 300 vultures that ate the carcasses of the cow and the lion”.

No doubt these ten lions were from one pride and were poisoned. The loss of 300 vultures suggests that the poisoning was widespread – this could not have been just one incident.We will try to get details on what actually happened and determine if carbofuran was to blame.

The head of the Species Program, Mr Omondi,  warned herders that they should expect to lose some of their animals if they choose to break the law and let them graze in protected areas.

The problem of livestock in game reserves which WildlifeDirect raised on Kiss FM Radio as well as through our blogs is so serious that it has consumed the greatest budget line for KWS during recent months.

The KWS says that the greatest challenge it faces is that in Reserves like the Maasai Mara, the management authority, the Narok County Council, turns a blind eye to the herders. Sadly the same is true of KWS who have for years allowed grazers into parks during annual dry seasons.To date we do not know of a single herder that has been prosecuted for illegal grazing, or of poisoning lions, vultures, hyenas or other animals.

This story reveals just how difficult it is for KWS to control the situation and protect Kenya’s lions.  Lions live mainly in areas that are not under KWS control. Many protected areas are poorly managed. There is nothing stopping herders from entering parks and reserves – even if one is caught, there are no penalties. Moreover, there are no incentives for communities to protec t lions and other wildlife outside of the protected areas. When  livestock are killed, the KWS is supposed to compensate owners, but this is a lengthy and controversial if not poorly managed process. Add tho this the easy access to pesticides like deadly carbofuran and any pastoralist can solve the problem of predation in an instant. Just a few granules of the purple killer will deal with an entire pride plus any other stragglers or plike hyenas.

Cancellation process for carbofuran in USA and Canada

Despite all the evidence raised by WildlifeDirect and partners on the impact of Carbofuran on wildlife (lions, birds, fish, insects), the Kenya Pest Control Products Board has not been supportive and indeed states that there is no evidence that the product is dangerous. Unlike Canada and USA, the Kenya Government does not provide consumers with any information on the impacts that products we use are having on people or the environment.

The US EPA is proceeding toward cancellation of carbofuran registrations, to address risks to pesticide applicators and birds.  In 2006, in addition to dietary risks, EPA identified significant occupational and ecological risks from the use of carbofuran. Although carbofuran uses have benefits, EPA concluded that carbofuran products pose an unreasonable risk to human beings and the natural environment, and these risks outweigh the benefits of continued use. Therefore, all uses of carbofuran must be cancelled.In Canada, all products containing carbofuran are proposed for phase out because, based on available scientific information, they do not meet Health Canada’s current standards for human health and environmental protection and pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Additional mitigation measures are not being proposed at this time.

We submit that if carbofuran is too dangerous to be used in USA and Canada then it is too dangerous to be used in Kenya.

Frederick M. Fishel at the University of Florida Pesticide Information Office  has written up a detailed account about Carbofuran and the cancellation process on their website. The following content comes from that site.

Carbofuran is a carbamate insecticide/nematicide, first registered in the United States in 1969. Carbofuran is classified as a restricted-use pesticide due to acute oral and inhalation toxicity. Carborfuran inhibits cholinesterase enzymes, affecting nerve-impulse transmission. Several formulations of the trade product, Furadan®, are currently available (Figure 1). Although carbofuran has various registered uses, some of the commodities carbofuran is applied to in Florida include potato, corn, sugarcane, and cotton.

In the late 1990s, to reduce risks posed to drinking water and the natural environment due to carbofuran use, the manufacturer, Food Machinary and Chemical Corporation (FMC), made a number of changes to labels for flowable carbofuran. These changes included reducing the label-allowed application rates and numbers of applications.

Carbofuran Cancellation Process1

Frederick M. Fishel2

This EDIS publication provides a brief history of carbofuran’s use in the United States, describes risks associated with carbofuran use, and outlines the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stated rational for revoking its regulations that have allowed carbofuran residues in food. This publication also describes the EPA’s plans announced in 2008 to cancel the pesticide’s registration due to risks carbofuran poses to pesticide applicators and to birds in treated fields.

Carbofuran Background

Carbofuran is a carbamate insecticide/nematicide, first registered in the United States in 1969. Carbofuran is classified as a restricted-use pesticide due to acute oral and inhalation toxicity. Carborfuran inhibits cholinesterase enzymes, affecting nerve-impulse transmission. Several formulations of the trade product, Furadan®, are currently available (Figure 1). Although carbofuran has various registered uses, some of the commodities carbofuran is applied to in Florida include potato, corn, sugarcane, and cotton.

In the late 1990s, to reduce risks posed to drinking water and the natural environment due to carbofuran use, the manufacturer, Food Machinary and Chemical Corporation (FMC), made a number of changes to labels for flowable carbofuran. These changes included reducing the label-allowed application rates and numbers of applications.

Figure 1.  Furadan 4F is an example of a carbofuran trade product currently on the market in USA.

To date, three human studies have been conducted for carbofuran – one oral and two dermal. In May 2006, these studies were reviewed by the EPA’s Human Studies Review Board (HSRB). The Board concluded that, while the studies were informative, the results are not appropriate for use by the EPA in either the individual carbofuran or carbamate cumulative risk assessment. The EPA did not use the results of the human studies in the risk assessment for carbofuran. Carbofuran is classified by the EPA as “Not Likely” to be a human carcinogen.

Ecological Effects

Carbofuran is:

  • Very highly toxic to birds on an acute basis and highly toxic on a sub-acute basis. A chronic-effect level could not be established because all concentrations tested caused mortality in the test subjects.
  • Highly toxic to mammals on an acute basis. Chronic toxicity testing on laboratory rats showed reduced offspring survival and body-weight reductions.
  • Very highly toxic to freshwater and estuarine/marine fish on an acute basis. The available chronic test showed larval survival as the most sensitive endpoint for freshwater fish. Embryo hatching was indicated as the most sensitive endpoint for estuarine/marine fish.
  • Very highly toxic to freshwater and estuarine/marine invertebrates on an acute basis. Chronic tests showed reproductive effects.

Pesticide Reregistration

All pesticides sold or distributed in the United States must by law be registered by the EPA, based on scientific studies showing that the pesticide can be used without posing unreasonable risks to people or to the environment. Additionally, the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 protects the public from health risks presented with exposure to excessive pesticide residues in/on foods and everyday surroundings, such as in the home and at places of employment. This FQPA amended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) with respect to the EPA’s process of establishing tolerances for pesticide residues in food and in the atmosphere. As a result, pesticides first registered by the EPA before November 1, 1984, must be reregistered to ensure that the pesticides meet today’s more-stringent standards, which are due to advances in scientific knowledge.

In evaluating pesticides for reregistration, EPA obtains and reviews comprehensive studies from pesticide producers describing each pesticide’s effects to human health and the environment. To implement provisions of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996, EPA considers the special sensitivity of infants and children to pesticides, as well as aggregate exposure of the public to pesticide residues from all sources and the cumulative effects of pesticides and other compounds with common mechanisms of toxicity.

EPA develops any mitigation measures or regulatory controls needed to effectively reduce each pesticide’s risks. EPA then reregisters pesticides that meet current standards for human health and safety. According to the EPA, these are the pesticides that can be used without posing unreasonable risks to human health and the environment.

When a pesticide is eligible for reregistration, EPA explains in a Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) reasons for the decision on whether to reregister the pesticide or cancel registration for the pesticide.

Tolerance Revocation

Due to considerable risks associated with carbofuran in food and drinking water, EPA is revoking its regulations that have allowed carbofuran residues in food. Because dietary exposures to infants and children are of particular concern, the EPA is moving to revoke carbofuran tolerances first, before cancelling carbofuran registrations. This approach provides the most direct and timely means to realize protection of children from dietary risks. It also allows multiple stakeholders an additional opportunity to comment.

According to a statement released by the EPA on July 24, 2008, even though carbofuran is used on a small percentage of the U.S. food supply and therefore the likelihood of human exposure through food is low, EPA has identified risks that do not meet their rigorous food safety standards. EPA is taking the necessary steps to address these risks to ensure that the U.S. has the safest food supply possible. Children and others should continue to eat a variety of foods, as recommended by the federal government and nutritional experts.

In a Federal Register notice signed in July 2008, EPA is proposing to revoke all U.S. carbofuran tolerances. EPA specifically will request comment on whether any individual carbofuran tolerances, or group of tolerances, meet the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) safety standard. It is possible that one or more individual carbofuran tolerances could be maintained, if information is provided to demonstrate that the tolerance(s) would be safe.

Revoking carbofuran tolerances is part of a broader series of EPA actions to cancel all uses of carbofuran in the U.S. due to human dietary, occupational, and ecological risks of concern. After moving to revoke carbofuran tolerances, EPA subsequently plans to publish a Notice of Intent to Cancel all carbofuran registrations.

EPA establishes tolerances for pesticides that may be found on foods and can also revoke tolerances to better safeguard public health and the environment. The EPA must modify or revoke any tolerance that it determines is unsafe, that is, that does not meet the safety standard of the FFDCA. The EPA is proposing to revoke all tolerances for carbofuran because exposure through food and drinking water does not meet the FFDCA safety standard.

 Canada

This information is from the Canada Pest Control Board.

 “After a re-evaluation of the insecticide carbofuran, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act, is proposing phase out of carbofuran products in Canada.

An evaluation of available scientific information found that, under the current conditions of use, carbofuran products pose an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment, and therefore do not meet Health Canada’s current standards for human health and environmental protection. As a result, all uses of carbofuran are proposed for phase-out. This includes registered uses on canola, mustard, sunflower, corn (sweet, field and silage), sugar beet, green pepper, potato, raspberry and strawberry as well as temporary emergency uses on turnip and rutabaga. The emergency uses on turnip and rutabaga were registered for the period of April 1, 2008, to August 31, 2008, and are no longer registered for use in Canada, but were included at the time of this assessment.

The PMRA‘s pesticide re-evaluation program considers potential risks as well as the value of pesticide products to ensure they meet modern standards established to protect human health and the environment. Regulatory Directive DIR2001-03, PMRA Re-evaluation Program, presents the details of the re-evaluation activities and program structure. Re-evaluation draws on data from registrants, published scientific reports, information from other regulatory agencies, and any other relevant information available.

The proposal affects all end-use products registered in Canada that contain carbofuran. This Proposed Re-evaluation Decision is a consultation document that summarizes the science evaluation for carbofuran and presents the reasons for the proposed re-evaluation decision.

The information in the Portable Document Format (PDF) version of this document is presented in two parts. The Overview describes the regulatory process and key points of the evaluation, while the Science Evaluation provides detailed technical information on the human health, environmental and value assessment of carbofuran.”

Purple killer – the slide show

Music provided by Kevin McLeod incompetech.com – to all you out there who have stood by us we  Thank you! Your support gives us strength.

5 lions poisoned in Serengeti

Dear Friends, this report is just in from Arusha from a colleague. We will get photos shortly.

“I met a guy who confessed that Furadan has been recently (2weeks ago)
used to kill 5 lions around Serengeti. TANAPA are investigating and
they have taken samples of the dead lions to establish the actual
poison. The story was; the lions killed a giraffe near a maasai boma.
The Maasai, fearing the lions would attack their livestock after
finishing the giraffe, they laced the remaining giraffe carcass with
furadan. That evening the lions came back and 5 of them were found
dead near there the following morning!! There is a lot of Furadan in
Arusha. I bought a 500 gms from the Tanzania farmers association shop
at an equivalent of $15. Kisamo (TANAPA) promised he would share the
lab findings of the samples once they are out. He will also send us
the photos when he gets them from the guys who went to the ground when
the incident occurred! I am sure we won’t win the battle if Tanzania
still has the furadan distributed by JUANCO from Nairobi.”

CBS 60 minutes follow up

Dear friends,

Last night CBS 60 minutes re-ran the story on the link between the collapse of lion populations in Africa, and the misuse of the pestsicide Furadan, a carbofuran produced in the USA. There is a video here and the online piece attracted 119 comments.

Hopefully this piece will  energise the discussions in Kenya about the call for a ban on carbofuran.

Paula

76 lions, 24 hippos, truck loads of birds killed by Furadan

While we await the formal hansard or parliamentary transcripts regarding the discussion on whether to ban carbofuran in Kenya, this is the summary of what transpired in parliament last Tuesday according to KWS. Note the final table that documents a alarming number of affected species. In recommendations it is suprising that KWS does not come out strongly and recommend banning carbofuran.

MINISTRY OF FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE

 

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION NO. 087

 

The member for Naivasha (Hon. John Mututho, MP) to ask the Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources:

(a)             If the Minister is aware of the airing of a damaging documentary on the Kenya in International Media on the 14th April, 2009 CBS, a television network in USA, regarding death of lions in a Kenyan park?

(b)             If he can confirm that the pride of Seven (7) lions found dead in the parks were as a result of Furadan Poisoning ; and

(c)             When the Minister will, through NEMA, effect immediate ban of Furadan chemical, pending further investigations?

ANSWER

Mr. Speaker Sir, I beg to reply:

(a)    I am aware of the airing of a documentary on Sunday, March 29th 2009 at 7 pm Eastern Time in the U.S on the CBS television network on lion deaths in Kenya occasioned by a pesticide locally known as Furadan. Although, the documentary was not screened on any of Kenya’s television stations, a commentary appeared in one of the daily news papers indicating that 75 lions were killed by furadan poisoning throughout the country. Records kept by KWS indicate that indeed 76 lions were killed by such poisoning between 2001 and 2009. Of these, 3 lions died of such poisoning in the Mara in March of 2008.

(b)    No; I can not confirm that the seven (7) lions aired in this documentary were as a result of Furadan Poisoning.

Records at the KWS indicate that only five lions died in the year 2008 as a result of Furadan poisoning. These incidences happened in the Mara Triangle and the Amboseli ecosystem areas were three and two cases were respectively reported and confirmed by the government chemist and through confessions by the people who poisoned the animals.

 

(c)    Following the lion poisoning cases in the Mara, Farm Machinery and Chemicals (FMC) the US manufacturer of furadan stopped further importation of the product to the country and further to the CBS documentary; FMC is in the process of buying back furadan from the Kenyan market.

In addition my Ministry is spearheading the creation of an Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Wildlife Poisoning in Kenya that will provide leadership and guidance on this matter.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

Furadan and its effects

 

Carbofuran is the most toxic of the carbamate pesticides. It is manufactured under the trade name Furadan by Farm Machinery and Chemicals (FMC) Corporation of the US. Its correct use is to control pests in a wide variety of field crops.

Furadan usage has increased in recent years in Kenya as it is available in 88% of agro vet outlets. As Furadan is highly toxic to wildlife and is affordable, people have found it easier and simpler to use it against wildlife. Laboratory tests have shown that acute oral toxicity occurs in domestic cats at a consumption rate of 2.5-3.5mg/kg of body weight. A cat that weighs 3kg requires as low as 7.5mg to cause death. When this is extrapolated for lions whose average weight is 189kg, it would take 472.5mg (0.47g) to kill an adult lion (315mg for an adult lioness whose average weight is 126kg). This indicates the low dosages of Furadan can cause chronic toxicity in lions.

Several cases of Furadan poisoning have been reported to KWS with some cases being confirmed by the Government Chemist and or by confessions made by people who poisoned the animals. These cases reported to KWS span from the period between 1995 to 2008. Records indicate a total of 76 lions have been killed in this manner.

Our major concern is that the number of reports of Furadan associated wildlife deaths in Kenya are on the increase. Moreover, Furadan is an agrochemical that should be used in agriculture but majority of the cases reported occurred far away from agricultural areas indicating that furadan is intentionally used to kill wildlife, especially carnivores. The attached tables gives a summary of wildlife killed by Furadan poisoning since 1995 to date and table two indicates the lions killed by Furadan poisoning from 2002 to date.

Species Number Killed
Carnivores:
Lions 76
Hyena 15
Silver backed jackals 2
Birds:
Vultures 252
Hammercop 8
Fulvous ducks In Pick up Truck loads
White-faced Tree Duck In Pick up Truck loads
Knob-billed duck In Pick up Truck loads
Egyptian Geese In Pick up Truck loads
Ibis In Pick up Truck loads
Egrets In Pick up Truck loads
Spoonbills In Pick up Truck loads
Back-winged stilts In Pick up Truck loads
Storks In Pick up Truck loads
unspecified raptors In Pick up Truck loads
White-faced Whistling Duck 1
Mourning Dove 7
Laughing Dove 1
Helmeted Guinea fowl 3
Speckled Pigeon 1
Wattled Starling 1
Fan-tailed Widowbird 16
Open-billed Stork 1
Herbivores:
Hippopotamus 24

       

COUNTER MEASURES.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the equivalent of NEMA in the US, proposed the banning of furadan in the US on 24th July 2008 because of concerns similar to ours. The Farm Machinery and Chemicals Company (FMC) Corporation has since stopped all shipments of this product to Kenya and is in the process of buying back the product in the Kenyan Market.

This is a relief to Kenya; however there is need for intense Public education and awareness creation about the correct use of pesticides and their effects both negative and positive on the environment.

The situation is now critical as numerous other pesticides are available in the Kenyan market that can potentially be misused to kill wildlife and their ecosystems. KWS recommends the formation of an Inter-ministerial Task Force on Wildlife Poisoning which will provide leadership in this matter. The task force would comprise key stakeholders that include but not limited to KWS, PCPB, AAK, DVS, NEMA, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Public Health.

Paula’s comments

Readers should be aware that we were informed that the Minister for Wildlife directed that the inter-ministerial task force be created more than a year ago – just after the lion poisoning incident was reported in the Mara. To date it has not been formed. We hope that the Parliamentary instructions will be followed.

We at WildlifeDirect and many other conservationists welcome the openness and transparency that we are seeing from KWS over the poisoning of wildlife issues. We restate our desire to work closely with KWS on this and other conservation issues in and beyond Kenya. We also welcome FMC’s buy back and withdrawal of Furadan.

However the voluntary withdrawal is just not good enough for 3 key reasons.

  1. FMC retains the right to re-introduce Furadan at any time
  2. Furadan has been shown to be unsafe for use in USA where tolerance levels have been revoked by the EPA. If it s not safe enough for Americans, then it’s not safe enough for us, or anyone anywhere. See how most birds died in pick -up truck loads! These were accidental poisonings related to the proper use of carbofuran. How can we condone such a pesticide in a country that is renown for its wildlife?
  3. A ban creates the necessary awareness  that KWS correctly states is essential to fight the devastating effects of wildlife poisoning.

We will continue to support the call for a total ban on carbofuran in Kenya and East Africa.  Please help us, support this campaign and join us in the fight against carbofuran poisoning of wildlife. Thank you all for your great support.

Furadan – the greatest threat to Kenyas lions

At a recent meeting, Ms. Alayne Cotteril explained that the misuse of  carbofuran (sold as Furadan in Kenya) in Kenya could push  Kenya’s few remaining lions over the threshold and into extinction. Living with Lions is an organization managed by Dr Laurence Frank that believes the most urgent threat to lions today is the widespread use of poison to kill them in retaliation for depredation on livestock. This is their message.

Masai cow killed by lion

When lions or hyenas kill a cow, they eat part of it and come back the next night to finish the carcass. Livestock owners have learned that a universally available agricultural pesticide carbofuran (marketed as Furadan) is lethal to predators – they need only sprinkle a few cents worth of carbofuran on the carcass and any mammal or bird which feeds on it will die.

This cow (above), found by one of LWL’s Lion Guardians was killed by lions and partially eaten. They returned to the carcass the next night, providing an easy opportunity for a potential lion poisoner.

Lion poisoned with carbofuran

LWL has evidence of over 60 lions poisoned in just our Laikipia and Kilimanjaro study areas, sometimes whole prides at once. These are a small fraction of the predators actually killed by poison, because in the vast expanse of African rangelands, relatively few come to the attention of researchers or the authorities.

We frequently learn of a poisoning when we find one of our collared lions dead. The animals are often found next to a poisoned livestock carcass.

Richard Bonham’s evidence of large scale lion and hyena poisoning in 2001-2 motivated the establishment of his Predator Compensation Fund and LWL’s Kilimanjaro Lion Conservation Project. More recently the Amboseli Predator Project has been started by LWL to investigate the problem in another area of Maasailand.

vulture poisoned with carbofuran

Carbofuran, which is banned in the US and Europe because of its lethal effects on wildlife, is sold throughout agricultural areas of Kenya. It is legitimately used as an insecticide and nematicide, but one need only ask any agricultural supply shop for something to kill stray dogs, hyena or lions, and for about $1.50 they will sell a small plastic jar of carbofuran granules, enough to kill a whole pride of lions or clan of hyenas.

Although poisoned predators are rarely found by conservationists, a more visible effect of predator poisoning is the disappearance of vultures and some species of eagles from the skies of Kenya. These also feed on poison-laced livestock carcasses or the bodies of dead lions and hyenas and are also killed, sometimes dozens at a time.

Some vulture species have become nearly extinct in Kenya and others are severely reduced. Elsewhere, carbofuran is also reported to be used for poisoning fish for human consumption, and crocodiles for their skins.

What can be done?

In the short term, Kenya must ban the importation and sale of carbofuran and replace its legitimate agricultural use with other pesticides which cannot be abused to kill wildlife.

However, in the long term, we must find ways to make predators more valuable to the rural people who share the land with wildlife. So long as wild animals are regarded by people as an expensive nuisance rather than a valuable resource, wildlife in Africa will continue to decline, eaten as cheap bush meat, poisoned and speared as pests.

Lion cub

In a world increasingly dominated by humans, crops and livestock, all Living with Lions programs are focused on this one ultimate challenge to conservation.