Barn Owls being used for controlling damage to coconut yield
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Biodiversity
- Pilot project has started on Biological Control of Rodents (Rats) by Using Barn Owls in Kavaratti Island, Lakshadweep.
- Recent studies revealed the widespread damage caused by rats to the island’s coconut yield and economy.
- Coconut is an important cash crop for the islands, but the rodents account for 30 to 40% of the yield loss.
- Total production stood at 8.76 crore nuts in 2017-18.
Important value additions
- Scientific name: Tyto alba.
- Distribution: It is the most widely distributed species of owl except in Polar and desert regions, north of the Himalayas, most of Indonesia, and some Pacific islands.
- Nearly all of their food consists of small mammals which they locate by sound.
- IUCN status: Least Concern.
- Cultural significance: The Barn Owl is respected as the acolyte of the Goddess Chamunda in Karnataka. In Bengal, it is revered as the carrier of Lakshmi, the deity of wealth.
- Barn owls have been recruited instead of cats or rat snakes because the rats in the Lakshadweep Islands practically live on treetops.
- Using chemical agents is impossible since Lakshadweep practises organic agriculture.
Image source: Click here