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Non-chemical control of the Red-billed Quelea (Quelea Quelea) and use of the birds as a food resource

Non-chemical control of the Red-billed Quelea (Quelea Quelea) and use of the birds as a food resource

Mtobesya, Boaz Ndagabwene (2012) Non-chemical control of the Red-billed Quelea (Quelea Quelea) and use of the birds as a food resource. MPhil thesis, University of Greenwich.

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The Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea is the most numerous terrestrial bird and the most destructive avian pest of small-grain crops throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The birds occur in 60% of the cereal production areas of Tanzania almost every year. Quelea can cause serious local damage to millet, rice, wheat and sorghum and cause considerable hardship to subsistence farmers. Spraying with the organophosphate avicide Queletox®, (60% fenthion a.i.) remains the preferred control measure despite its negative impact on the environment and high cost. As an alternative control measure, the mass trapping of quelea and harvesting their chicks to use both as a source of protein and for income generation was investigated. Two traps using very large nets, based on designs used successfully to catch birds in Tunisia and the USA, failed with quelea; but success was achieved with four other methods. With traditional basket traps made of grass, an average of 286 birds could be caught per trap per day, this increased to 574 birds by using a replica wire mesh version. When using mist nets in a breeding colony the number of birds caught per day per 12 m long net varied from 445 for the first day to 231 on the tenth day. Trials with a roost trap yielded 5,000 to 17,000 birds per day. Cooking and preservation methods were investigated to maximise the potential utilization of quelea meat as a food resource. The best preservation method was achieved by boiling with added salt and drying, while the cooked product rated most highly by volunteer tasters was fresh meat. Proximate analysis was conducted on preserved, milled, quelea meat which confirmed the highly nutritive value of quelea for human consumption. It was concluded that mass-trapping and chick harvesting methods were more environmentally friendly control methods than spraying or use of explosives, with the added benefits of providing high-quality proteinaceous, uncontaminated, food and income generation for the trappers and their families.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Red-billed Quelea, birds, Quelea control methods, Tanzania,
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2016 09:13

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