Tanzania to exterminate three million birds

Travailleurs ˆ bec rouge Red-billed queleas

Authorities in Moshi region in Tanzania’s lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro are planning on killing about three million quelea quelea birds that are threatening 2,135 hectares of paddy reports daily news.

The government is acting fast to avert losses of yield, as paddy is now in maturing stages and the red-billed weavers have proved to be hazardous, according to MOSHI District Council (MDC) Director (DED), Ms Butamo Ndalahwa in an exclusive interview with the Daily News.

‘Quelea quelea, the world’s most populous wild bird species, have been devouring paddy at the Lower Moshi Scheme that spans 440 hectares; Mandaka Mnono Scheme with 270 hectares and the biggest one – Mawala Scheme that covers 1,425 hectares.’

An airplane will spray 325 litres of pest-killing poison from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries in Dar es Salaam to eliminate the birds. At least 2 million birds were eliminated in August but a new group of the birds has been arriving.

“The last time MDC killed quelea quelea was in 2013 but this time around we have found it important to do a major operation as farmers are in danger of losing their crops. The red-billed birds have an estimated adult breeding population of 1.5 billion pairs. The overall world population is expected to be as large as 10 billion.”

Quelea quelea birds feed on annual grasses, seeds and grain, they meet in large numbers to find a suitable feeding place and can cause serious damage on crops. The birds live in steppe and savannah regions in Africa.