Lion-Killing Pesticide Might be Banned in Kenya

baby lions cubs africa photo

Photo: Carol P., CC
Furadan is Deadly to Wildlife, Already Banned in the US and Europe
A couple months ago I wrote about lions being poisoned (intentionally) with pesticides. There is some movement on that front in Kenya: "Kenyan MP John Matutho is introducing legislation to prohibit the use of Furadan, a cheap but lethal chemical [used by] local herdsmen [to] poison lions and other carnivores." Of course, lions aren't the only victims (elephants are dying too), but their high profile and small population numbers help attract attention. But would a ban on Furadan work?
lion africa photo

Photo: Franco C., CC
WildlifeDirect executive director Dr. Paula Kahumbu says, "This is a pesticide that has recently been banned in the United States. It's also banned in Europe because it's been found to be unsafe to be used even if we follow the label instructions.… It's one of the most dangerous pesticides actually available at the moment."

VOANews reports:

In the early 1990s, it was discovered that water birds were dying large numbers after Furadanwas used in some irrigation systems. [...]

"We know over 60 lions that have been killed in the last two years and that's probably the tip of the iceberg. And Kenya today has fewer than 2,100 lions remaining. We used to have over 30,000," says Kahumbu.

Buyback Program Not Enough
A buyback and withdrawal program for the pesticide isn't enough because while it can remove it from the shelves, it can't stop companies from China, Pakistan, India, etc from making their versions because the original patent has expired. Only a ban - one that would be enforced - could work.

And this isn't just for animals' safety. Humans are at risk too:

The chemical attacks the nervous system and only small amounts can kill an animal. It can also be fatal to humans if ingested.

"It takes only a quarter of a teaspoon to kill people, "says Kahumbu. She says lower concentrations can cause neurological problems, such as paralysis and breathing problems.

There was a scary quote about this in my previous post on Furadan and lions: "If the poisonings don't stop, the fate of the African lion may be sealed."

Via VOANews, Yale e360
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