Thursday, July 14, 2011

Furadan poisoning kills tens of thousands of wetland birds including migratory species in Bunyala Kenya

Dear all,

WildlifeDirect is stepping up a campaign to have carbofuran, the active ingredient in the deadly pesticide product Furadan, banned in Kenya and East Africa.

Martin Odino who is scientist and an author of the WildlifeDirect blog, Stop Wildlife Poisoning, has reported that despite FMC claims that Furadan is no longer in Kenya, it actually continues to be used to poison tens of thousands of wetland birds in Bunyala rice irrigation scheme in Kenya. The product is coming in from Uganda.

He has documented in photographs and film how the birds are killed by lacing a meal of rice with the poison and laying out in the rice paddies. Ducks and other waders eat it and die shortly thereafter. Insects, reptiles and fish in the water are all killed. Predatory birds pick up the carcases and so the pesticide is affecting a whole chain of species. Open billed storks are killed by lacing snails and using decoys to attract overflying flocks. He claims that up to 50% of each flock that lands in these fields die, and this amounts to some 6,000 bird deaths each month in Bunyala rice irrigation scheme alone. We suspect even higher mortalities in Mwea and Ahero irrigation schemes.

The consequence of poisoning to raptors and migratory birds could be catastrophic.

But its not just birds. The human cost is enormous, the people handling the deadly toxic chemical do so with bare hands. The product is put into the water which is consumed by the community, and the ducks, storks, doves, sandpipes and other speccies that are killed, are sold in local markets as human food.

The evidence is shocking and we will be releasing a short documentary on the same shortly. For latest updates check out

Although FMC claims that Furadan is not available in Kenya, it is permitted for use in the production of flowers in Kenya. Our largest flower farms are by Lake Naivasha, a Ramsar site and an extremely important bird area.

We have submitted reports, attended meetings with the pest control products board and government officials and we are part of the government task force on the impacts of pesticiedes on the environment. That Task force which is under the Ministry of Agriculture and is chaired by the CEO of the PCPB, has not met since September 2010, and few of the actions agreed on have been implemented.  We believe that the PCPB is not in a position to attend to the problem due to resource constraints and conflict of interest.

We would like you to share this through your networks, put it on your websites, blogs, facebook and email it to everyone.

Our campaign has two targets.

1. The immediately and total ban on use of carbofuran and other carbamate pesticides in any pesticide control product.
2. We are demanding that the government to move the Pesticide Control Products Board out of the ministry of Agriculture where the organization faces a conflict of interest, and into the Ministry of Environment where it can effectively achieve it's mission "To provide professional, efficient and effective regulatory service for manufacture, trade, safe use and disposal of pest control products while ensuring safety to humans, animals and the environment"

We ask that you support our initiative by circulating information,advise us on funding opportunities to continue the research, monitoring, reporting and education, as well as the advocacy to change the Kenyan laws.

Please circulate this information widely

Kind Regards

Paula Kahumbu
Winner of the National Geographic/Buffet Award  for conservation leadership in Africa 2011
Executive Director WildlifeDirect
P.O. Box 24467 - 00502

cel + 254 722 685 106

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