Kenya: Mombasa County seeks partners to eradicate Indian raven

The Indian crow, considered an invasive pest by scientists, has wreaked havoc on beach hotels in Mombasa for years, “disturbing” vacationers and stealing their food.

In 2018, the county government decided to do something about it. In its proposed medium-term budget for 2018/2019, some 30 million shillings were to be used to eradicate birds in the tourist center within five years.

But after residents objected to the planned spending, officials scrapped the plans.

The decision now haunts residents and hoteliers, who are grappling with an explosion in the number of Indian crows in the city.

Birds, commonly referred to as kunguru or kurabu, are a nuisance, preventing tourists and residents from organizing outdoor activities and stealing food from guests at outdoor restaurants.

Hotels have used a variety of strategies to control the birds, including deploying workers to scare them away at meal times.

However, officials assured stakeholders that they were seeking donors and partners to eradicate the birds.

“We wanted to fight the raven threat as a county. Two years ago, during our budgeting process, we included it in our plans but we followed what mwananchi said. The citizens at that time did not approve it, “said Environment Chief Officer Ilhan Abbas.

“However, we believe we can create a safer environment if we get partnerships and donors to help us eradicate the pests.”

Birds are ruining the county’s image as a tourist hub. But several seaside resorts have invested in catapults to scare off crows.

Aggressive birds feed mainly in the landfills of Mwakirunge and Shonda. In Mwakirunge, they pose a threat to aviation because they can block the flight paths of planes landing or taking off from Moi International Airport.

Tourism stakeholders, led by Sam Ikwaye, executive director of the Coastal Branch of the Kenya Hotel and Catering Association (KAHC), said counties should invest in pest eradication.

“Aviation players are complaining about the birds because they pose a threat to the industry. Whenever there is no food in Mombasa, they move to Kwale or Kilifi. Other counties should launch. the campaign to eradicate the parasites, ”added Dr Ikwaye.

The tourism expert said birds deprive tourists of enough time to revel, especially on beaches during the day.

He said it was difficult for players to sell tourism products such as bird watching after the Indian crow ate almost all native species.

A source told the Nation that the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is looking for money in its budget to care for the birds.

“We need a budget to eradicate the birds, the ecosystem balance and the urge to ‘kill’ them. But a study was to be conducted by KWS,” said the source.

Environmental watchdog Nema said only KWS has the mandate to care for the birds.

“It’s KWS that’s actually supposed to take care of this thing. Our job is to do an environmental impact assessment, a public consultation so that we can verify that whatever they want to do is acceptable to everyone. the world, but it’s the county and KWS that can do it. But people are complaining, especially hoteliers, saying it’s a nuisance, ”said Nema manager Samuel Lopokoiyit.

He said biologists also complain that birds are killing other species.

“It’s not just about allocating resources. Dealing with this problem (requires) careful study to avoid any impact on humans, animals and our ecosystem,” he said.

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Christina A. Kroll

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