Photo: Flickr, CC
"If the poisonings don't stop, the fate of the African lion may be sealed."
Lions in East-Africa are being poisoned by a pesticide that is banned in the European Union and will probably soon be banned in the US for all food crops. It's called Carbofuran and it's used to "control insects and other pests on crops such as corn, rice and sorghum". Unfortunately, it's also used to poison lions...
Photo: Flickr, CC
Conservationists and researchers say that the product is widely available and inexpensive in East Africa and that herdsmen trying to protect their animals from lions and hyenas use it to poison the predators. Scientist and conservationist Richard Leakey has called for a ban due to the problem.
Laurence Frank, a University of California-Berkeley researcher [...] told CBS' "60 Minutes" for Sunday's program that he knows of more than 30 poisonings in one area and 35 to 40 in another, which he considers only "the tiny tip of the iceberg." He told the program that if the poisonings don't stop, the fate of the African lion may be sealed.
The makers of carbofuran, Philadelphia-based FMC Corp (they market the pesticide as "Furadan"), suspended the sale of the predouct in Kenya. "FMC also recently began a buyback program to encourage growers and herdsmen to return any remaining supplies, he said."
Of course, it's hard to blame the company if its product is misused, but this story is just a reminder that pesticides are after all poisons, and that even when used properly, they have an impact on ecosystems. Organic agriculture should be used whenever possible; and problems with "pests" are often much smaller when we don't have large monocultures...
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