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Crow-killing: good money down drain

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Mahesabu, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. Mahesabu

    Mahesabu JF-Expert Member

    #1
    Apr 22, 2011
    Joined: Jan 27, 2008
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    By Karl Lyimo, 17th April 2011 @ 12:00, Total Comments: 2, Hits: 340

    THIS is a plea from the heart, asking the President Jakaya Kikwete Govt. to spare the money and the crows... Well, let me start from the beginning...

    One ki-Swahili daily published in Dar last Saturday had what was for me an intriguing report. Apparently, the Govt. is preparing to embark upon a project to kill off black crows in the city and the surrounding littoral.

    To that end, the Govt. — acting with considerable material help from some of its partners-in-development — will spend the goodly sum of US$906,200 on the exercise beginning anytime now. This, the paper revealed, is in response to a presidential directive to the Ministry of Natural Resources & Tourism last year to eliminate crows from our skies.

    Reportedly, the project couldn’t be implemented then for lack of funds. What with one thing leading to another, the Danish Embassy plumped in with a hefty US$748,200. Other development partners followed suit — if not in like sum, but in kind. Finland chipped in with 75,000 euros; the US Embassy: $50,000...

    And Tsh150m from the Tanzania Govt. itself! [m-Tanzania-Jumamosi: April 9, 2011]. At current exchange rates, this works out at Tsh1.509bn; roughly US$1m... Enough to purchase 167.7 “Bajaj ambulances” at Tsh9m apiece! I don’t know how many black crows there are in Dar — and, therefore, the cost of killing them per capita!

    But, according to a top official of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST), Anne Lema, there’re about a million black crows in the skies over Dar es Salaam and its immediate surroundings. So, one US dollar for each black crow done in! Then what next?

    What I know for sure’s that it’s going to be more than an uphill task — an impossible task, I’d say — to eradicate the entire population! This has been tried elsewhere (in India, in Zanzibar; in fact, in almost every country where crows and ravens are found across the Seven Seas) with little or no success.

    Call it killing, call it culling... What I mean here’s that scores of thousands of the birds may be killed, and the billion-point-five shillings allocated for the job exhausted. Then, over time, the skies’ll be full of crowing crows as before.

    Back to Square One... Will we then start all over again? I don’t envy WCST for this rather awkward task it seems to have been uncharacteristically zealous to undertake. Indeed, I’m taken aback that a Society which crows as being out and out ‘Saving Wildlife; Saving Wild Places’ should now be at the front-line in a war to exterminate wildlife!

    According to WCST, “Tanzania has unparalleled wildlife and abundant natural resources, and is probably the most bio-diverse nation on Mainland Africa.’ The NGO was founded in 1988, and is Tanzania’s only major national conservation organization.

    WCST’s avowed mission is ‘to work towards the conservation of the flora, fauna, and environment of Tanzania for the benefit of Mankind...’ This last bit is tricky... who decides — and how/when — what’ll be for the benefit of Mankind, pray? Indeed, I’m aware how destructive and distracting crows can be, and usually are.

    I’ve in fact lost a few precious items to these crafty creatures which will take off with anything shiny enough to catch their visual attention. As Pam Hilts writes, “Crows will eat anything that’s edible, and many things that aren’t!’ [“Bird facts: Black crow’].

    Crows also swiftly descend upon water/liquid receptacles left uncovered in the open, first regurgitating into the liquid before they “wet their beak” (Mario Puzo/Don Corleone of ‘The Godfather’ fame pardon!) Both can’t be good habits — from a human point of view, anyway.

    So, it’s understandable that Man must want them out of the way. But — at the risk of being seen as playing the Devil’s Advocate here — I’ll come out and defend the creatures for reasons I consider fair.

    One: crows are “Class A-1” scavengers, up there with hyenas and bald eagles, feeding on carrion and refuse! Imagine what Dar would look and smell like if the crows weren’t there to mop up the (dead) filth as a matter of course.

    So, why be avengers of scavengers? Two: crows are an entertaining breed — in a manner of speaking! It’s fascinating to watch them “shadow-boxing” and jockeying for position with mother-chickens, with the latter defending their chicks as the crows maneouvre into a position from which to snatch a chick and take off on an aerial parabola ably assisted by the thermals up there!

    Three: eliminating crows is clearly an exercise in futility; and an expensive one at that! Mark my words: not long after the exercise comes to a close, there’ll be crows in our skies once again! We must learn to live with, and enjoy, what we can’t effectively sort out... Cheers
     
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