House crows to be killed

With the announcement of intentions to eradicate one million house crows by the end of 2024, the authorities have declared war on one of the largest numbers of problematic house crows in the country.

The move was made after several decades of struggling with the troublesome behaviour of house crows, who have played a big role in wreaking mayhem on indigenous species of birds and posing considerable issues to the hotel industry, especially in the coastal areas.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) acknowledged the bothersome behavior of house crows in a statement on Friday, June 7, referring to them as noxious foreign birds whose presence has been a problem for the general public for many years.

According to the KWS, the birds in question have not only forced native bird species away from their natural habitats, but they have additionally caused a significant amount of difficulty for visitors, notably within the hospitality business along the shore.

During a meeting that was attended by a variety of stakeholders, including officials from tourism-related businesses and organisations that work to preserve wildlife, Professor Charles Musyoki, Director of Wildlife and Community Service, who happened to be representing the Director General of the Kenya Wildlife Service, emphasised the critical nature of the house crow elimination initiative.

Asia is the original home of the house crow, also known as Corvus splendens. However, maritime operations have since introduced it to many other regions of the globe. Other names for this species include the Indian, grey-necked, Ceylon, or Colombo crow.

Because of their introduction into Kenya, these birds have been progressively growing along the coast, which has resulted in the displacement of local bird species such as the Pied Crow.

Because of their extraordinary resilience and their relationship with human communities, house crows have shown that they have an enormous possibility for invasion, not just in Kenya but also across the tropics.

Mombasa, Malindi, Watamu, and Kilifi are five examples of fast-growing metropolitan hubs that are good homes for them because of their affinity for regions that have an abundance of rubbish. 

The presence of these birds, on the other hand, introduces a number of dangers, such as the spread of diseases, the devouring of local bird species and their eggs, and the disruption of residents and visitors due to their constant cawing.

The government has tried to deal with birds in the past, and this is not the first time that they have attempted to do so. More than twenty years ago, an earlier endeavour successfully reduced the bird population, but the rapid growth has demanded fresh strategies.

Although it is possible that house crows came to East Africa in the 1940s, the fact that they have established themselves along Swahili's coastline has made them a severe obstacle for the authorities in charge of the region.

Their omnivorous diet, in conjunction with their capacity to adapt to urban areas, has been the driving force behind their fast spread, which has required the government to take urgent action. 

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