A Winged Alternative to Toxic Pesticides Thursday, April 2, 2009
A TAU ornithologist replaces pesticides with birds to keep rodents at bay
Prof. Yossi Leshem
In the modern world, farmers use toxic chemicals to control voles, mice and other rodents that can destroy their crops. Unfortunately these chemicals may also cause illness in the humans that eat those crops.
Now Prof. Yossi Leshem from TAU’s Department of Zoology has developed a proven method to keep these pesticides out of our produce. According to a recent story in the Jerusalem Post, Prof. Leshem is leading a national project in Israel that uses barn owls and kestrels, two natural predators of rodents, to help farmers exterminate rodents without recourse to toxic pesticides.
Prof. Leshem and his colleagues built a series of nesting boxes to encourage kestrels and owls to set up their “homes” next to farm fields. He recently reported that the project is successful. “There are now 1,600 nesting boxes. One pair of barn owls can eat 2,000 mice per year when they feed at night, and the kestrels eat the voles during the day,” Prof. Leshem explained. “We may export the idea and teach it in African countries,” he adds.
For more information about TAU’s exciting new project to save valuable crops and protect the health of those who consume them, see the full story in the Jerusalem Posthere.