Barn owls to fight Rodents in Lakshadweep

Why in news:

  •       The Union Territory of Lakshadweep have ‘recruited’ three pairs of barn owls from Kerala to fight against the rodents.


  •       The owls were chosen from among healthy birds rescued by the Kerala Forest Department.
  •       The biocontrol measure is spearheaded by the Lakshadweep Administration, with the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Kavaratti providing the technical knowhow.
  •       Coconut is an important money-spinner for the islands, but the pesky rodents account for 30 to 40% of the yield loss. Total production stood at 8.76 crore nuts in 2017-18.

Rodent control

  •       Rodent pests are especially problematic in terms of agriculture and public health since they can inflict considerable economic damage associated with their abundance, diversity, generalist feeding habits and high reproductive rates.
  •       To quantify rodent pest impacts and identify trends in rodent pest research impacting on small-holder agriculture in the Afro-Malagasy region we did a systematic review of research outputs from 1910 to 2015, by developing an a priordefined set of criteria to allow for replication of the review process.

ThreemethodsTo combat the menace of the rodents:

  •  Acute-Toxic
  •  Low Toxic
  •  Non-Toxic


  •       This method is used to control rats in open spaces outside the buildings. This is used against Norway Rats, which generally stay in Nalas and dustbins. The rats die within minutes due to the Phosphine gas released by our chemical. This is very effective against Bandicoots. The disadvantage is we cannot overcome the bait shy character of rats; and bait rotation has to be done very frequently.

Low Toxic:

  •       This method uses the second-generation anti-coagulants, which are effective after the very first dose. They eliminate the bait-shy among rodents, as the target does not die immediately unlike in the acute toxic method. The rats affected by the Anti-Coagulants come out into the open and die eliminating the risk of stinking.


  •       In this method glue pads, mechanical traps, runway traps etc are used which making it completely safe for people as well as pets.
  1. a) Second-generation anti-coagulants with bromadiolone 0.25%CB
  2. b) Low toxic and harmless to other Pests.
  3. c) Does not include bait shyness
  4. d) Tends to make rats come out in the open and die.
  5. e) Non-toxic methods used are : Deploying Glue boards, Snap traps, mechanical traps, runway traps
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