Category Archives: Polar Bears

Pesticide poisoning is wiping out Kenya’s Wildlife

Dear Friends,

This was in Toda’s Nation Newspaper

Pesticide devastating Kenya’s wildlife

Posted  Monday, June 20 2011 at 15:47

According to the law, it is a serious offence to misuse or abuse pesticides, and the Pest Control Products Board is meant to regulate the safe use of pesticides for food production.
Through my organisation, WildlifeDirect, I have been calling for a total ban on the deadly carbofuran pesticide locally known by its trade name Furadan in Kenya because it is devastating wildlife.

Carbofuran is intended to kill insect pests and is a neurotoxin that paralyses its victims. WildlifeDirect has documented abuse of this chemical, which may be the most serious threat facing wildlife conservation in Kenya today.
To raise awareness and get government help, we called a workshop to address the issue of pesticide poisoning of wildlife in April 2008. It wasn’t until late 2009 that a task force under the Ministry of Agriculture was created to address the issue of pesticide impacts on the environment.

The task force has achieved nothing tangible, and the agency has refused to acknowledge a single poisoning incident report submitted by Wildlife Direct.

The Board has not called a meeting since September 2009 or explained why they have not done so.

WildlifeDirect scientists have been consistently reporting that Furadan has been used to poison lions.

The pesticide is sprinkled onto livestock carcases to kill lions, which cannot detect its presence as it has no smell or taste. Any animal that scavenges on a laced carcass will die within minutes, and that includes jackals, hyenas and vultures.

We have also been reporting the large-scale bird poisoning in Mwea where tens of thousands of birds were killed by the lethal poison in the mid 1990s.

Farmers were reported to be eliminating birds to prevent damage to crops. A researcher documents the use of Furadan to poison wading birds in Bunyala where poachers kill thousands of wild ducks, geese, storks, doves and other birds.

Though produced in the USA by an American firm, FMC, Furadan is not permitted for use in that country after the Environmental Protection Agency declared it unsafe for users, consumers and the environment in December 2009.

After airing a shocking documentary showing the poisoning of lions in Kenya in 2009 on CBS’s 60 minutes, FMC announced a complete withdrawal of the pesticide in all East Africa where they admitted it was being misused.

The poison was removed only from Kenyan stores, and it was simply moved to Tanzania and Uganda. From there it has been coming back across the border and continues to be found in some Agrovet outlets.

We have consistently argued that the pesticide management system in Kenya needs to be revised. Deadly pesticides like Furadan should not be sold over the counter as users are not trained in safe use, and do not use any safety gear.

Given the obvious risks, it seems clear that our regulations and capacity to enforce the law are inadequate.

The Board itself is highly compromised. Located in the Ministry of Agriculture, it cannot be an industry watchdog looking out for the interests of human and environmental health when it is the industry itself that is the main user of these chemicals. No wonder it is allergic to any suggestion of pesticide product bans

For more information visit our Stop  wildlife poisoning blog

Taking The Fire Out FromThe Ice

I was under the impression that there was already too much pressure on the poles and surrounding due to Climate Change so who and where the idea to drill holes and extract oil came from I do not understand. The driving force must be capital off-course and keeping a super economy ahead of the world economic game or is it just one mans inability to comprehend the importance of the environment and wildlife. George.W.Bush favoured the exploration in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), despite studies that showed that oil development would only reduce Americas dependence on imports slightly and lower oil prices by less that 50 cents a barrel.

As many of you may be aware seven oil companies had been granted permission to establish oil refineries in a remote part of Alaska called Chukchi and Beaufort Seas after rights of drilling in the region were auctioned for $2.6 billion by the government. This just happens to be critical habitat for Polar Bears, Whales and other artic species that are already so vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

Despite the negative impacts that endangered polar bears already face from the presence of the oil companies, the US Fish and Wildlife Services issued regulations that in cases of accidental harassment or disturbance by the oil companies towards the polar bears will be allowed, so long as there are no injuries or incidents do not lead to death of the animals.

Where did such immunity for the oil companies come from? Did an incident of such characteristics take place that they had to come up with a regulation to mitigate for ‘problems’ to the oil companies or is this something that is going to happen as a result of an activity they will carry out? I can’t quite get my head around this. So if i have got this straight then, if at any point the oil companies activities cause the disturbance of mating or breeding rituals or cause indirect alterations to polar bear behaviour which do not inflict any physical injury or cause direct death to the bears then it’s ok??? So for instance if the noise of drilling prevents females from mating and the population declines as a result of no births within the 5 year span of this ridiculous regulation then the companies will not be held responsible?

Does anybody have any answers for me?

Personally I don’t think this has been thought out very carefully and it seems to me that the oil companies have been given a green light to do as they please. A deliberate incident can be made to appear accidental if you catch my drift.

Blog by Masumi Gudka.
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