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National push towards ecologically sound pest-control continues

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Continuing efforts to promote a switch from chemical to biological pest-control, agriculture ministry officials recently held an information meeting at Palodia with representatives of communities in the Limassol district facing problems from the destruction of carob crops by rodents.

Presentations focused on alternative methods of rodent management in order to reduce the use of rodenticides in the countryside.

The meeting, which was attended by Environment Commissioner Klelia Vassiliou, as well as representatives of the Hunting Federation, included demonstrations of implementation of pest-control using barn owls, and discussion of the harms posed to the environment and to human health by rodenticides, as well as their unprofitability.

The ministry of agriculture has granted a large number of nesting boxes to communities that have shown interest and will proceed with training for their installation.

So far, within the framework of the “National Plan for the Management of Rodents Using Barn Owls”, the departments of agriculture, forestry, hunting and fauna, the NGO BirdLife Cyprus, the Hunting Federation, and other organised groups, have collectively installed a large number of nesting boxes island wide, a satisfactory percentage of which have attracted owls.

The National Action Plan aims to map out the locations of nests already installed, as well as those that are planned, for the purpose of studying the owls, as well raising awareness about the importance of biological pest-control and the need to do away with the unrestrained use of poisons.

The barn owl is a farmer’s best ally against rodents since it feeds on them almost exclusively. Each owl consumes four to eight rodents per night while a family of owls consumes up to 6,000 rodents per year.

The use of rodenticides and other poisons in the countryside poses a serious threat to biodiversity and wildlife, as many animals die from secondary poisoning from eating other poisoned animals.

 

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