Tanzania kills Five million birds to save rice fields

Millions of quelea birds have been culled by Tanzania to prevent them from destroying rice fields, using drones and planes to monitor commercial farms, the country’s plants and pesticides watchdog said Wednesday.

The Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA), responsible for controlling desert locusts, killed five million quelea birds in the northern region of Manyara last week where about 1,000 acres of commercial crops were under threat.“We killed swarms of five million destructive birds and now we are monitoring other zones,” Joseph Ndunguru, acting director general of TPHPA, told AFP by phone.

The tiny red-beaked birds which move in large flocks ravage crops, with invasions generally occurring during the onset of the dry season in September and October.

Ndunguru said the agency targeted the swarms with aerial spraying over four days, killing them before they damaged the paddy fields in northern Tanzania.

With governments across Africa initiating aerial and ground efforts to contain Quelea birds in the past, they are thought to be the most numerous bird species in the world.