Palm oil industry wards off pests with owls

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Palm oil industry wards off pests with owls

The high success rate and low cost of warding off rats with owls has led many in the Indonesian palm oil industry to deploy the birds on their farms, Reuters Life! reported.

Sampoerna Agro head of investor relations Michael Kesuma, told Reuters his business was using owls on its South Sumatra plantations.

"In those problem areas, I personally have seen the results of having owls. At the bottom of the owl houses, which are on a trunk, you see rat or rodent bones -- they are doing their job," he was quoted as saying.

The process has also been used in Malaysia, while some farmers have even employed owl trainers, the story reported.

Deforestation Watch estimates crop losses from rats have reduced the industry's yields by 5%, while WWF-Indonesia biologist Chaerul Saleh told Reuters the use of owls was 50% cheaper than using chemicals.

Photo: Flickr, Drew Avery


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