- The Lakshadweep administration has decided to release 3 barn owls at coconut plantations in Kavaratti. The owls have been taken from Kerala to Kavaratti under a rodent management programme.
- Coconut is an important source of revenue for the Lakshadweep islands, however rodent issues account for 30-40% of the yield loss. Total production stood at 8.76 crore nuts in 2017-18.
- Deploying barn owls is a bio control measure to address the issue of rats. A major reason for opting bio control measure that Lakshadweep islands are designated as organic zone and thus use of chemicals for pest control is prohibited.
- Further, barn owls have been chosen over other rat eaters like cats or rat snakes because the rats in the Lakshadweep Islands mostly live on treetops. The coconut palms grow very close and resemble a jungle. The fronds overlap, allowing the rodents to move easily from one tree to another.
6 min read