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Barn Owls being used for controlling damage to coconut yield

  • IASbaba
  • September 1, 2020
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Barn Owls being used for controlling damage to coconut yield

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Biodiversity

In News:

  • 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 

Barn Owl

  • 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 

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