Tag Archives: Poacher

Furadan 5G-Withdrawn but still legal in Kenya

The ruling by the supreme court against revocation of carbofuran tolerances on food in the United States yet again shows us the way to go concerning carbofuran. Clearly, the substance is not justifiably safe.

When FMC announced that they were withdrawing supply of Furadan to Kenya (& East Africa) in 2009, for a moment we believed that biodiversity would be a little safer. But we needed more than just have Furadan withdrawn by the manufacturer. Specifically the Kenyan law on Furadan (other deadly toxic pesticides) needed to specify its position as far as legislation of deadly toxic pesicide is concerned especially following voluntary withdrawal by the legal manufacturer and licenced supplier of the product.

Indeed we saw invigorated buy-back by the Kenyan distributor, JUANCO and welcome support by FMC to be informed where the pesticide was still at large. In a few months, the agrovet shops were out of stock of the poison. Incidences of lion poisoning seemed on the decline whereas bird poachers at irrigation schemes seemed to be absorbed into other professions like fishing and crop farming for the case of Bunyala.

But soon what we feared for most of the indifferent law, its legislators and the enforcers started manifesting itself- Furadan was again within easy reach of poachers….& now, there are ‘new’ forms of the product!Boom! we are in an even more worying situation. Furadan 5G still remains legal in Kenya. Actually it might never even have been withdrawn at all. JUANCO still advertises it on their website whereas the bird poachers applaud the original (FMCs) Furadan as a remarkable biocide and maintain their use of the product even presently.

In my quest for status quo of this lethal killer at the poisoning hot spot in Bunyala, I stumbled on a version that poachers term as not ideal for bird poisoning. Nonetheless, somebody’s got to be using it albeit its unknown true identity and effects.

The substance is packed in a container similar to that of FMC’s Furadan 5G but for the blue cap and seeming faded instructions label. Further, it is strong smelling, crystaline, and the purple (and some black) crystals are certainly coloured by some sort of powder otherwise just clear crystals. The substance also seems to dissolve more readily than the Furadan that was known of FMC.

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Compare the container above with the familiar package on this earlier post.

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Label showing manufacturer, distributor and production date (has nearly out-lived its shelf life)

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Purple and black heterogenous crystals

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Crystals readily colouring the water even before shaking

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Some of the crystals (at the edges) totally discoloured upon shaking the mixture.

Counterfeits are enjoying Furadan’s legal status and its high demand for abuse in Kenya while human and wildlife livelihoods languish in danger from intoxication.

Bizarre bird poisoning scenes this week

This is Carbofuran being handled with bare hands by a bird poacher.

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This poacher is comfortable with his catch when it is stored under his shirt!!

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This is not a humane way of handling birds, even though they may be intoxicated.

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In a rice field the sight of sacks evokes the thought of harvested rice grain. This troupe is transporting live and dead birds secured through poisoning.

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Bird meat business flourishes on professional etiquette like any other business. The customer is allowed to select freely from the assortment.

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The poacher then proceeds to pack the goods selected by the customer.

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Finally money changes hands (3.75 dollars for 4 pieces of intoxicated carcasses).

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The rains and bird kills

Conditions are looking up for any life form with the onset of rains in Bunyala.

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The local rice irrigation scheme which is esssentially the area’s industrial zone giving most people a chance to earn a penny is bustling with activity at the moment. And the rains have boosted foliage for livestock which are looking fine and birds at first sight are about abundantly and in their various kinds of course being the migration period.

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The irrigation scheme

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A healthy goat enjoying thorny foliage

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Greenshanks finishing off their sleep in the early morning

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A female Greater Painted Snipe stirring in the early morning

For weeks now, light drizzles have been gracing the evenings after the scorching tropical day time sunshine. A few days ago however, the rains came down unexpectedly in the morning hour shortly after 0600hrs forcing my assistants and myself to take cover by a roadside hut with the inhabitant(s) most likely sound asleep inside; a few minutes later, the showers subsided. The skies appeared dreary for a downpour and the sunrise rays even lit the east. We were headed for the furthest part of the study site so we did not mind getting a little wet from the slight drizzle provided we beatt time and poachers who are also early risers. Midway through our journey and the showers broke into a significant downpour, so we took cover at the irrigation board premises. We relaxed and watched through the rain not in any hurry any more. Afterall heavy rains meant no poisoning because of the need to economize on the cost of the poison (by the poachers)and the rains washing off the poison from the baits and the birds bowsing fresh rain water would just not maximizing on kills which meant wasted poison.

We took GPS points and made notes, occasionally chatting with the farmers in the rice scheme and enlightening them on this whole business of Furadan and poisoning. I was amazed at how informed some were. I had sought to find out if they had been supplied with Furadan to use in their cultivation plots having noted that they had already been given seedlings, part of the package that normally comes with Furadan. They said they were not being given Furadan this season because the pesticide was banned. They said they had been told that if the harvest was good who knows, some maybe exported!and what would be better news for the pheasant farmers. However they were told that the rice would not be accepted in the international market if certain chemicals were found in the export product; Furadan is one of these products that potential importers will be looking at and the chemical would be found if it is used in planting and tested at the export-import level. “So as long as we are the ones eating the foul cereal someone thinks it is alright!” Further, they said the government had banned it because it was being misused for poisoning lions.

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The ‘New friends’ that we talked to. They are using oxen to ready paddy fields; a giant rake-like impliment is attached to the chain and drawn by the oxen along the water-filled plots to remove any debris in the ploughed, soggy earth prior to planting the rice

We upheld the hope of non-eventful bird poisoning incident as the day wore on. With evey one ticking minute and the prospect of a downpour later on in the day almost guaranteed that we would clock the coveted zero figure for bird mortality for the day!

When we were Just about to finish walking the last transect, a flock of Open-billed Storks stirred ahead. No doubt some poachers were rounding them up so that they fly on to their poison bait set up. With the stabilized sunshine after the morning rain the birds had embarked on intensive foraging. Gorging to satiate their hunger hoping to recover lost time while waiting for the heavily pelting rain to subside earlier on and probably trying to beat the immiently warning showers later on. The poachers knew better and took advantage.

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Godwits feeding with heads immersed in water

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Ruffs feeding in harmony their backs watched by the Curlew and Wood Sandpipers.

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An African Spoonbill busy dabbling for food

Just in time for us to take off and avoid getting soaked by the rain, the poachers left the site with 12 Storks and numerous sandpipers

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One of the poachers with his catch (poisoned birds) loaded on his back

As we also made off to camp we passed by a dead stork and a farmer’s cutlass and shoes, a sign that the action had been going on for some time before we arrived.

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Usually the poachers will not let you take any of their bird for free no matter where the poisoned victim is collected from. This bird must have been a stray bird which in an attempt to get away from the assaulting poachers collapsed to its death in this lucky farmers plot out of its pursuers sight. Such is the case for many other birds of which not all are recovered. A wasteful, brutal technique poisoning is.

And so the days wear on.

Please keep reading.

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Caution with ‘my’ poachers

Normally the term poacher brings out the impression that these are fellows hunting average sized to big game. In normal circumstances, ‘normal’poachers hunt game exclusively benefiting entirely from game meat sale and no other activity. I mean they are more or less specialized to this activity targettting ,mostly herbivores.

In Bunyala, poachers are bird hunters in the contemporary setting. But even these have stemed out from an older generation that hunted normally: I mean mainly specialized herbivore hunters relying almost solely on this activity. But of course these were hunted to none in the region.

When I talk of bird poachers therefore, you are less likely to fear that these guys could be dangerous to people who are nosing into their business but reality of the situation is contrary. Noinetheless they are normal people.

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Maimed individuals already lying at his feet, this fellow is contemplating a long shot for disoriented individulas that have wondered far

The young man above is hardly in his thirties and poisons birds almost on a daily basis for sale. Off the poisoning field he is an electronics expert repairing mostly radios. Then again he gets hired to work in the irrigation scheme to chase birds, weed or harvest the rice. But may be he does all these tasks because he has two wives, the first of whom is ailing and bed ridden (I hope it is not a furadan-related illness, God forbid) and a couple of children.

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This one is an older poacher in his mid thirties I am told has neither wife nor kids. His speciality is small bird and especially dove and pigeon poisoning rather than stork poisoning. But the guy also gets hired for farming activities in the Bunyala RErice Irrigation Scheme.

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This guy is a homeowner in his late thirties; a family man and responsible father in a crude way:as you can see his sons are being drilled to take over and follow in his footsteps.

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The band above constitutes agemates in their thirties and to a larger part bachelors. These guys all poison storks and it is their unifying factor. A good number have strange story lines inclusive of one known to have chopped off one local tailor’s arm for failing to finish the poacher’s girlfriend’s outfit on the agreed deadline ; another (the guy in green) is renowned for habitually beating up his father, the mentor that saw him rise to bird poisoning profession.

What is common to all these poachers is that they are known to generously spend their money earned in poisoning business in commodities that can best be described as illicit. After work, they flock in Illicit brew dens to down a few tumblers while Marijuana smoking is a norm of this callibre.

Wether the illicit substances are responsible or the guys are haunted by the mad killing of nature’s beings, generally these guys are feared to be bad tempered. Duels and gang fights are not uncommon amongst themselves over poisoned birds-which group’s bird is it?(if the poisoned bird takes off and falls in no man’s land); who is entitled to more dead birds?-It is real jungle style and some days my assistant and I have to watch from a distance. What is worse is that for some reason, which I suspect is poison availability, most of these guys have become so full of themselves and what used to be a joke, “just photograph what I am doing but time is coming when you will have to pay me” is now a real and altered stern warning that I should “absolutely refrain from taking any photos “.

The smell around these strange guys is typically wild, ortherwise fine by me whose ‘brown collar’ job has taught me to appreciate nature in its various shades. This smell is purpoted to be the effect of the many storks they have eaten which smell the same. But acknowledging the odour is disrupted by their warning breath of scary and menacing stench of terror!

Keep reading friends.

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A Conservation Researcher’s Frustration

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An officer in his office at PCPB is discussing with his accomplice from JUANCO of their next useful yet again lucrative agrochemical deal. In parliament, politicians are struggling to have patronage over the solving of the cases by the perpetrators of Kenya’s post-election violence.A continent away, a scientist is working away on a computer at FMC. In all these cases, these giants are aware of the sizzling hot Furadan poisoning issue but is a trivial matter to them, or is it a necessary outcome that does not surpass the giants’ benefits from the continued existence of the pesticide in our midst?

In this conservation venture, I meant to collect baseline information and alert conservation and government stakeholders, also train educate and raise awareness on the Furadan poisoning issue. But all these targets are designed to function as a unit. It is therefore a drawback when the enforcer who is the government and its appointed agency, the PCPB, seem dormant and insensitive on the matter.

The Furadan bird poisoning until now seems to effect a mortality of 30% – 40% of the whole bird population exposed to the poisonings. It means 3 to 4 birds die in every 10 that wander into the poacher’s baiting set up. The threat is even higher for tightly social colonies such as the migrant sandpipers and Abdim’s Storks with up to whole colony deaths or 100% mortality.

When FMC announced and began the buy back of its supplied Furadan stocks from Kenya, Mocap quickly replaced it and is at the moment fairly extensively used. No negative effects of the pungent Mocap nor its underperformance have been revealed hitherto which is what was feared of the pesticide. But it was disturbing to find the pesticide still in Kajiado (Kiserian) months later, yet lion deaths due to poisoning by Furadan are known of this pastoralist region. Then Eldoret a few weeks back shocked us with the explicit display of the poisonous pesticide in some agrovet store shelves and now poachers in Bunyala are declaring it on the rise again. I have still not gotten the confirmation but the claim that, “The supplier is still supplying us with Furadan….” by some store keepers in Eldoret Town is a depressing statement. I am forced to think aloud if the statement means, ‘JUANCO are still supplying Furadan’ and where is it from????!!!!…FMC???’ an abomination!

Fellowshipping with bird poachers and trying to enlighten them, counting bird carcasses and turning in poisoning updates has been the procedure during every month’s survey. More has been the testing of the poisoned birds as evidence of bird poisoning using Furadan. While this evidence was stressed on as crucial if any regulation measure had to be effected for Furadan, the agencies whose delegates vehemently insisted on the lab evidence have since been quiet. Does it mean the evidence is not enough as has always been the defence? I am willing to get more samples if they will chip in towards the testing costs. Or is the matter already decided on that Furadan is here to stay?

Technically, this survey is testing methodologiy to be employed elsewhere and is expected that the model survey can be used anywhere. A near success of the methods seems to have hit a snag!

While bird poisonings in Bunyala had drastically declined last month, this is gradually being reversed and is on a steadily elevated trend calling for a change in strategy; may be fill papers with poisoning images. I hope an environmental lawyer out there hears me out!

Keep reading.

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On-going bird Poisoning and Rising Furadan Supply

A few days ago, I finished administering questionnaires and interviewing people in Bunyala about the issue of bird poisoning. Disturbing findings came up: vitually the entire population knows about Furadan and its toxicity yet majority of the immediate population at the rice scheme feed on poisoned birds; poachers say Furadan is banned but it continues to be available. I sought to know the poachers’ unanimous opinion on vegetable farming in exchange for bird poisoning as we had agreed they discuss (in May) and tell me what they thought but the few I met said birdmeat business seemed good again with the poison’s supply having increased and was not as scanty as it had been 2 months back. I just seem to have lost a would be band of converts who are crucial if poisoning is to be eradicated in Bunyala, thanks to increasing Furadan supply in the area! It means starting all over again which for the sake of lvelihoods, I am left with no other option.

The rice scheme fields are being ploughed in readiness for planting. Birds have started flocking in the fields and will reach peak numbers with the flooding of the paddy fields at planting time. It is even more worrying because the rice planting area has been expanded.

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This field used to be left fallow during the previous seasons but is now being converted to be used for rice planting

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Birds anticipating food bounty and a tractor ploughing in the distance

Poachers are therefore going to be more spread to poison as many birds as they can and are beefing up their stocks of Furadan for the season. It is disturbing that much as I was trying to focus on the interviews and questionnaires, harsh reminders of on-going bird poisoning kept coming up on the footpaths criss-crossing the villlage recidences. The doves below had dropped to their deaths on the path I was using, having been intoxicated while foraging at the irrigation scheme.

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Finding the actual source of this pesticide in Bunyala has proven difficult because the chain of people involved is long and mysterious. I know one old man who supplies the poachers with the pesticide and it is alleged he gets the poison from the irrigation scheme. An interview with the man did not yield much information as he insisted on telling me more about his blacksmith venture, a genuine art but perfect masquerade for the pesticide underground deals he engages in. Further, my assistant got a 100g pack of Furadan from an official of the board who incidentally got this chemical through convincing or bypassing the person with the key to the store where the pesticide is stored. For some time, the fellow had been unable to secure the pesticide because the store key only has one custodianwho had been away for a while . No doubt the illegal pesticide’s blackmarket deals go on within the confines of the Bunyala rice board premises but it seems nobody heeds the call for the rice board supplies to be retrieved especially when they bear the trademark showing they are Juanco distributed and as far as I know, it is the same juanco involved with the buy back.

Keep reading on the worrying, regulation-ignored Furadan poisoning scene in Kenya

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The cost of rescuing a captive (decoy) stork

“No you cannot afford this bird.” ranted the ‘poacher’, clearly getting irritated.

“I will pay double the amount it would cost a dead bird,” I made my bidding.

“KSh.5000!”,the poacher stated his quotation, sounding not at all amused.

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A newly captured open-billed stork soon to become a decoy. Ksh.5000 bob is its mimimal value!

This was the conversation I had with one poacher while trying to evaluate the cost of aquiring then probably rehabiliate and set free all captive African Open-billed Storks. The birds are kept under restraint in homesteads for use to lure others during poisoning for wild bird meat.

My interviews with virtually all poachers in Bunyala reveal that none really aquired those birds without an already captured individual. The history of how the first captives were caught seems diffuse to most poachers; all say that a decoy is made of a bird that is least intoxicated and survives poisoning but requires a decoy to lure it and get it to feeding on Furadan-laced bait.

I asked the poacher how he had come up with the Ksh5000 (US$65) and the following constituted the justification:

Realized value of sold poisoned birds due to the decoy:

Having captured and used decoy luring technique to capture birds for a while, the poacher said he had the highest daily sales of birds attributed to one decoy stork at Ksh.5000. On the average this translates to 100 birds each sold at a minimum price of Ksh.50. The minimum cost of Ksh. 50 per bird is typical of high season of bird kill. His bird was therefore worth at least Ksh. 5000.

Cost of Furadan

As a ‘professional’ bird poacher, the poacher said he uses about 10 of the 200gm packs of Furadan, each costing Ksh150 (about 2 dollars). This costs Ksh 1500 (20 dollars). Furadan poison and the decoy are an inseparable Open-billed Stork poisoning unit. He insisted that this should actually be added to the Ksh.5000 figure.

Cost of a photo

The poacher then added that I had to take his photo with the bird which according to him I could sell to tourists at a lucrative value. I would have to pay him Ksh. 5000 for this. I kept my camera where he could see it so that he could see it so that he would not claim I had taken a sneak photo of him.

It is so insane! The cumulative cost stands at a staggering US$150 per bird. There are about 20 pairs of African open-billed Stork captives. Their “buy back”would amount to US$6000! This is a whole project!!!!!.

Banning Furadan and enforcing the regulation will mean keeping the poacher and the poison apart. While no trials so far are working as well as Furadan in bird poisoning in Bunyala, the habit of capturing (and poisoning) storks will decline since one unit of the decoy luring poisoning technique will be lacking.

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Furadan 5G, the deadly poisonous pesticide.

Please keep reading.

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An Indicator of Furadan poisoning

Captive Open-billed Storks are amongst the creatures that endure the most pain in the business of bird poisoning using Furadan. I have already written much about these birds kept in captivity and used to draw others to eat Furadan-fouled molluscs in many posts. But I just must write about them yet again because the poachers continue to keep the captives in their backyards which clearly hints, the storks still have reason for being kept in captivity.

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An old photo showing how decoys are transported; in sacks (the 2 small sacks hang ing on the passenger poacher’s shoulder). A bird used to taking in volumes of free air must find it hard to breathe in the stuffy, dirty sack. They only have choice to endure.

I had thought the decoys would in time lack purpose especially with the seeming panacea that was the Furadan buy back program. Sadly this has not been the case hitherto and the captors hold on to them dearly for luring purposes. This in itself is a sure sign that Furadan poisoning is still on much as it may be kept from the investigator’s eye, in this case myself. I had even thought of ‘buying back’ the Storks from their captors, get them into some form of rehabilitation since when taken to wetlands, the birds seem to forget their restraint and forage normally on the snails in the wetlands. However, the birds would need someone to watch out on them since they have no flight feathers and some are injured and therefore cannot escape if attacked by predators like dogs.

My assistant told me a decoy is the last thing a poacher will let go of and even with incessant bad luck of failure to poison birds which is sometimes the case, the poachers will not eat them but continue keeping them in captivity till they fetch them a kill some day. I randomly keep asking the poachers to sell me their decoys but they all turn down my request as though they unanimously vowed not to sell me the birds. Those who want to be ‘polite ‘ quote a gross figure such as 80 dollars a bird but in real sense they just want to turn me away.

The preciousness of the decoy Stork is in leading the other free storks to get down and forage on the poison bait even though they might just stand aloof and indifferent absorbed in their tribulations. This seems to be the difference between the small birds and the big storks and works against the storks. The small bird decoys would be restless and rouse suspicion in their colleagues thereby cause their free coleagues take off rather than settle for the bait.In the end, the decoy is the crucial link between the birds and the poachers.

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Aloof and indifferent decoys.

The decoys in Bunyala betray the presence of Furadan. With both Juanco imprinted in pink in the background of the labels otherwise dark lettered Furadan 5G packs and the unmarked in the background of the labels, FMC manufactured and contraband forms of Furadan continue to undermine the efforts to end bird and predator poisoning.

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Sweet life without captivity and poisoning

Nature begs for the much needed tranquility!

A badly needed truce for wildlife with banning carbofurans

Dear readers sometimes it helps to disarm the rogue. While some argue that the rogue will soon find an alternative to his weapon and get back to destructive action, sometimes the weapons are just hard to replace and while the rogue struggles to find his replacement a healing process is actually going on. Our wildlife badly needs the healing period even though the poachers and those offended by the wildlife will be seeking an alternative once Furadan and indeed any carbofurans are banned. Banning at he moment is the ONLY way forward . Let me illustrate why.

I have been exposed to a the poacher’s world even though not the kind that wield guns but these wield something that is very deadly only that many do not know it.Silent, tasteless, scentless and broad spectral in toxicity. Further, just a small amount of it is sufficient to cause massive deaths that wll need many rounds of ammunition to execute a similar effect. It kills cheaply compared to expensive killing ammunition. Cheap death is large scale and uncontrollable!Worse is that while ammunition will scare away those being killed-wildlife and humans-therefore spare some lives in the process, this latent substance kills quitely and lets as many as possible fall victims of its destruction. I mean too say that the poachers’s world i have come to know is that it is a murderous and I cannot stop thinking fueled by haunting and torment of repetitive destuction of lives.

In looking at birds in Bunyala, I find not 1 or 2 or 3 but many crippled individuals especially storks. These managed to escape from the grasp of Furadan poisoning poachers but not without his life-long inflicted injury. On the ground they have a hoping gait yet these were born normally and walked normally. In flight, the injured limb always dangles abnormally, a sign that ‘I am a survivor of Furadan poisoning’.

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That limb should be held up like the other and not hanging the way it is

Yet poaching and especially using Furadan seems to develop into a sadistic affair with the poachers engaging in sadistic ‘games’ as they await their quary to get disoriented before they can strike out to batter them to painful deaths. The tortoises below were killed by poachers as they awaited the baited birds to gorge on and get disoriented by poison bait. Just like many other biodiversity that comes to water and feed at the irrigation schemes, the tortoises also troop along but their slow movement is taken advantage of by the athletic poachers who capture them and haul them on concrete slabs where there are culverts to pass water into the irrigation scheme. Once their shells are split open and the dying tortoises are wrigglingin excruciating pain they are laid in a way that the cracked scutes face upwards exposing the lacerated bleeding flesh on the inside. Scavengers can come feed on them at the poachers’ amusement or Furadan may be put on the flesh to lure scavenging birds which will just add up to the birds catch of the poachers.

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Tortoises with smashed shells; Furadan poisoning poacher brutality

That is not the end of the painful tales of Furadan poisoning. In Bunyala, I realized starting last month that birds of prey have been reducing with crop harvesting from the fields which corresponds with the reduction in other smaller birds markedly targeted by poachers using Furadan to poison them. The explanation is that the birds of prey have learnt to rely on the weakened not so sleeky prey. It seems good enough that the raptors do not die while relying on the intoxicated food but the truth is that their systems are indeed dying slowly. Repeated exposure to the poison that does not reach lethal dose keeps weakening them with every bodily counter fighting experenceto the little Furadan in their prey. With many of these being young birds the unfortunate thing is that the birds may never attain breeding age given that raptors take long to reach breeding maturity. We cannot dismiss the probability that with this repeated small dose exposure that these young birds systems may just give in before they breed and one day we wil lwake up to find that our skies are lackiing raptors from presumed harmless carbamate exposure that silently just ensured they never lived to reproduce.

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Two young moulting Black-Chested Snake -Eagles; they might just not survive to breed

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No small birds to be poisoned hence no raptors. We hope we will not wake up one day to find no birrd in the skies!!!

Reality is that carbofuran poisoning defines barbarism when it comes to dealing with animals; banning it will remove the means to disorient the Storks and make them vulnerable to the poacher’s criplling blow; its abscence will not give poachers time and opportunity to rejoice in sadism, torturing tortoises to their death while they confidently await the poison to disorient and kill lured, unsuspecting quary; we need the raptors to hunt normally rather than be imprinted on intoxicated prey that will driive them to their demise.

Please keep reading!

Just When there should be no poisoning

Hi.I always look forward to reduced incidences of bird poisoning whenever I get to Bunyala. The seemingly changing favourable conditions for poisoning; I mean the ‘noise making’ through this blog’s screeming anti-poisoning campaign, the expected reduced availability of the poison to Kenya following halted supply by FMC, the altered proposed crops to be planted in the once purely rice growing scheme.

Apparently there is an expected shift from the traditional norm of rice growing to legumes, etc. This could Just mean the flooding area in the paddy fields is likely to be reduced, remaining only restricted to the regions where rice will continue to be planted. Probably this will mean less bird congregation at the established poisoning sites.That reduced poisoning just does not seem to be the case echoes our cry as to why it is time the local ban on the pesticide poison should be sensibly welcomed.

I got to my study area early yesterday just to be told by my assistant that poisoning sites had changed. We then set out to survey the new sites that my assistant had identified. The place is perfectly flat and the recent rains left the plain soggy. Heading eastward of the previous sites, I immediately noted feathers were scattered at various places. I thought it was worth counting the sites where the dead birds’ feathers were removed which would correspond to the poisoned birds in the last 3 days. The last rains had fallen 3 days ago. We reached this estimated longevity during which poisoning leading to the deaths of the birds had occured by looking at the state of the feathers. Rained on feathers would be shrunken and therefore we left these out. We counted 43 in total!2

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One….

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Two….

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……..up to 43

Then we reached the poisoning baits!

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A closer look, my assistant estimated the baits t had been there for 2 days or so. Note the purple of Furadan on one of the snail’s shell and sticks!

So while trying to get a photo of the birds in the nearby Muuri Wetland which is indeed a haven for birds but attractive to poachers too, an ususpecting poacher approached us. About 5 yards from us and he changed his mind I think because my hat was suggestive of our local wildlife defenders, the Kenya Wildlife Service. He quickly showed us his bacK!

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This kid must be an apprentice!

Then another band of poachers approached and also showed us their backs.

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We still have a major problem with furadan poisoning in Bunyala.

But protein supply just seems so abundant!

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But not the local’s favourite it seems.