Birds of prey winning war

Lee-Anne Butler

AN increasing number of businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay are becoming more conscious about the environment and have opted for more natural methods of rodent and pest control, instead of poisons.

Arnold Slabbert of The Urban Raptor Project says companies and even private individuals are seeing the benefits of reintroducing raptors such as owls, falcons and kestrels to alleviate problems caused by exotic rodents.

“All the problems caused by rodents are caused by human behaviour and poor waste management,” he said. “When you see flies in your house you grab poison to spray them but no one stops to think why the flies are there. Do you have to take out the rubbish or have your dogs made a mess in the yard? As humans we are slowly poisoning ourselves off the planet.”

He had noticed a sudden drop in the predator-bird population in the early 2000s and was inundated with requests to assist owls, kestrels and falcons that had been poisoned, apparently through eating poisoned rats.

“The poison did not kill the rats but only slowed them down. The birds were then immediately killed when they killed these poisoned rodents. Indigenous rodents and raptors were dying.

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