From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Barn Owls
Mains level : Not Much
- With a thriving rat population playing havoc with its coconut yield, the UT of Lakshadweep hires barn owls for help.
What is barn?
- A barn is an agricultural building usually on farms and used for various purposes.
- It refers to structures that house livestock, including cattle and horses, as well as equipment and fodder, and often grain.
Recruiting barn owls
- Coconut is an important money-spinner for the islands, but the pesky rodents account for 30-40% of the yield loss.
- However, employing owls to hunt down rats is not exactly a new idea for the islanders.
- Similar attempts were reportedly made in the 1960s as well.
- The birds were reintroduced in the 19th century for rodent management.
Why barn owls?
- The reason is that the rats in the Lakshadweep Islands practically live on treetops.
- The coconut palms here grow so close together that they resemble a jungle. The fronds overlap, allowing the rodents to move easily from one tree to another.
- Besides, the nocturnal barn owls are natural rat hunters, armed with a powerful auditory mechanism.
- There is also an important environmental angle to Lakshadweep’s decision to choose biocontrol.
- The islands being a designated organic zone, use of chemicals for pest control is a strict no-no.
- If successful, the barn owl campaign will be extended to other islands in Lakshadweep as well.