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february/march 2018 travel news 37
Sipi River Lodge
At the same airport, a “murder of crows” (their true collective noun) could cause
catastrophic damage should they be ingested into a jet engine.
Mombasa’s hospitals corridors have become space-ways for marauding crows, skillfully
angling down corridors as they snatch who-knows-what off trundling trolleys. Our much
vaunted luxury beach hotels employ staff specifically to chase off crows as they stalk
tourists casually strolling away from the buffet with brimming plates.
The Indian House Crow invasion is no ‘natural phenomena’ that will eventually run its
course. The crow is a rapacious, highly intelligent creature who has inadvertently found
its was from India into our African eco-system, where it is a vicious, voracious killer;
with no natural enemies and an ability to dominate all. Concerned observers agree that
within our lifetime this bird will pollute our cities and infect millions, living intimately of
our filth and leaving us totally denuded of natural creatures.
To try and at least lower the number of crows; last year a program was started near
Vipingo outside Mombasa where young men were paid to destroy crow eggs for a
cash reward. Over 8,500 eggs were destroyed in 5-months. Astoundingly an evolution
is taking place: crows in this Vipingo area, stressed from persecution, are breeding
younger and younger, and are now nesting up to three times a year and 6-eggs in a
nest is not unusual. Do the maths, it’s frightening.
What can be done to a least curb this on going cataclysm? When it is unsure even
which Kenyan authority should take the lead. Ironically, there is a fairly simple way to
rid us of this deadly creature.
In the early 90s a group of concerned volunteers here at the coast started using a
poison developed in the US for killing off their huge flocks of alien starlings (hence the
poisons name Starlicide). This poison kills through rupturing internal organs after being
ingested, and having been digested stomach acids render the poison inert. So even if
an animal eats a poisoned dead crow it should not be harmed. This program was so
successful that it is estimated that it eliminated 90% of the crows on the Kenya coast.
It was abruptly stopped by government when they withdrew permits for the importation
of Starlicide for no apparent reason. Today you can buy poison deadly enough to kill
lions, and poison the whole food chain at any rural chemist or agricultural products
Efforts are underway to revive the poison program, authorities both local and national
have already been approached, but it seems the operation has been stalled by their
favourite push-off, ‘more study is required’. Google and elsewhere have reams of
positive, university level, scientific input on the Indian House Crow and the crow’s clear
and present danger to the ecology and also the merits of Starlicide as a poison.
It is noted that the Kenyan authorities use poisons to control the quelea bird infestation
in the Mweiga rice areas to the tune of 5-million birds a year.
The authorities should ask Juma at Kikambala if he was right to fear for his infant
grandchild......and they should ask themselves: ‘Has the horror truly begun?’
This article first appeared in Coastweek and is reproduced with their kind permission.
Killing Crows With Lorries!!!
The National Highways Agency found over 200 dead crows on the Mombasa -
Nairobi highway near Changamwe, and there was concern that they may have
died from Avian Flu. A Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows, and,
to everyone's relief, confirmed the problem was NOT Avian Flu. The cause of
death appeared to be from vehicular impacts. However, during analysis it was
noted that varying colours of paints appeared on the ...bird's beaks and claws. By
analysing these paint residues it was found that 98% of the crows had been killed
by impact with lorrys, while only 2% were killed by cars.
The Agency then hired an Ornithological Behaviourist to determine if there was
a cause for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills. The
Ornithological Behaviourist quickly concluded that when crows eat road kill, they
always have a look-out crow to warn of danger. They discovered that while all the
lookout crows could shout "Caw", not a single one could shout "Lorry".
Stop Press: Import permits have now been granted for the importation
of Starlicide. To plan, implement and fund this initiative an NGO is being
sought. If you can assist or know someone who can, please contact Duncan
Mitchell - click HERE to contact him.
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