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Weaver Massacre

The Weaver have been bombed with napalm, tree-roosts have been dynamited and flame-throwers have been turned on them.

by Ian Hinze

The South African government has taken "controlling" actions against the red-billed weaver Quelea quelea because of the immense threat to agricultural crops. The species is so numerous at times, flocks number in the millions.

Widespread over all of Africa, south of the Sahara, it is better known as the common quelea, red-billed quelea or just plain quelea. The quelea used to be regularly imported into Europe and North America but does not currently seem as popular. Incredibly, when it has been imported, breedings are quite rare.

Being highly prolific and opportunistic breeders are, unlike most other weavers, able to breed at one year old. Reed-bed roosts have been bombed with napalm, tree-roosts have been dynamited and flame-throwers have been turned on them. But still, the birds are somehow able to recover from the unending onslaught. But just how many quelea are killed? The answer is staggering.

In South Africa alone, for the first seven months of 2000 — and May especially — the figures defy belief. The following contains the mortality figures and the methods used:

January 2000
Number of actions: 22 (21 chemical-aerial; 1 fuel explosion)
Total hectares: 325.8
Number of quelea controlled: 11,252,000
% success: 69

February 2000
Number of actions: 9 (8 chemical-aerial; 1 explosion)
Total hectares: 69.5
Number of Quelea controlled: 3,562,000
% success: 89

March 2000
Number of actions: 23 (17 chemical-aerial; 6 fuel explosions)
Total hectares: 109.9
Number of Quelea controlled: 6,981,000
% success: 87

April 2000
Number of actions: 28 (9 chemical-aerial; 19 fuel explosions)
Total hectares: 85.2
Number of Quelea controlled: 11,348,000
% success: 92

May 2000
Number of actions: 40 (29 chemical-aerial; 11 fuel explosions)
Total hectares: 185.3
Number of Quelea controlled: 21,151,000
% success: 90

June 2000
Number of actions: 30 (27 chemical-aerial; 3 fuel explosions)
Total hectares: 128.6
Number of Quelea controlled: 7,641,000
% success: 82

July 2000
Number of actions: 9
Total hectares: 42.4
Number of Quelea controlled: 10,532,000
% success: 85


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Weaver Massacre

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Reader Comments
This is horrible. How can it be stopped. There must be a better way
Len, New Bedford, MA
Posted: 1/9/2008 7:25:29 AM
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