stop wildlifepoisoning wildlifedirect


Pasted Graphic

76 lions, 24 hippos, truck loads of birds killed by Furadan

Category: Masai Mara, Pesticides, carbofuran, lions | Date: Jun 06 2009 | By: paula

While we await the formal hansard or parliamentary transcripts regarding the discussion on whether to ban carbofuran in Kenya, this is the summary of what transpired in parliament last Tuesday according to KWS. Note the final table that documents a alarming number of affected species. In recommendations it is suprising that KWS does not come out strongly and recommend banning carbofuran.



The member for Naivasha (Hon. John Mututho, MP) to ask the Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources:

(a) If the Minister is aware of the airing of a damaging documentary on the Kenya in International Media on the 14th April, 2009 CBS, a television network in USA, regarding death of lions in a Kenyan park?

(b) If he can confirm that the pride of Seven (7) lions found dead in the parks were as a result of Furadan Poisoning ; and

(c) When the Minister will, through NEMA, effect immediate ban of Furadan chemical, pending further investigations?


Mr. Speaker Sir, I beg to reply:

(a) I am aware of the airing of a documentary on Sunday, March 29th 2009 at 7 pm Eastern Time in the U.S on the CBS television network on lion deaths in Kenya occasioned by a pesticide locally known as Furadan. Although, the documentary was not screened on any of Kenya’s television stations, a commentary appeared in one of the daily news papers indicating that 75 lions were killed by furadan poisoning throughout the country. Records kept by KWS indicate that indeed 76 lions were killed by such poisoning between 2001 and 2009. Of these, 3 lions died of such poisoning in the Mara in March of 2008.

(b) No; I can not confirm that the seven (7) lions aired in this documentary were as a result of Furadan Poisoning.

Records at the KWS indicate that only five lions died in the year 2008 as a result of Furadan poisoning. These incidences happened in the Mara Triangle and the Amboseli ecosystem areas were three and two cases were respectively reported and confirmed by the government chemist and through confessions by the people who poisoned the animals.

(c) Following the lion poisoning cases in the Mara, Farm Machinery and Chemicals (FMC) the US manufacturer of furadan stopped further importation of the product to the country and further to the CBS documentary; FMC is in the process of buying back furadan from the Kenyan market.

In addition my Ministry is spearheading the creation of an Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Wildlife Poisoning in Kenya that will provide leadership and guidance on this matter.


Furadan and its effects

Carbofuran is the most toxic of the carbamate pesticides. It is manufactured under the trade name Furadan by Farm Machinery and Chemicals (FMC) Corporation of the US. Its correct use is to control pests in a wide variety of field crops.

Furadan usage has increased in recent years in Kenya as it is available in 88% of agro vet outlets. As Furadan is highly toxic to wildlife and is affordable, people have found it easier and simpler to use it against wildlife. Laboratory tests have shown that acute oral toxicity occurs in domestic cats at a consumption rate of 2.5-3.5mg/kg of body weight. A cat that weighs 3kg requires as low as 7.5mg to cause death. When this is extrapolated for lions whose average weight is 189kg, it would take 472.5mg (0.47g) to kill an adult lion (315mg for an adult lioness whose average weight is 126kg). This indicates the low dosages of Furadan can cause chronic toxicity in lions.

Several cases of Furadan poisoning have been reported to KWS with some cases being confirmed by the Government Chemist and or by confessions made by people who poisoned the animals. These cases reported to KWS span from the period between 1995 to 2008. Records indicate a total of 76 lions have been killed in this manner.

Our major concern is that the number of reports of Furadan associated wildlife deaths in Kenya are on the increase. Moreover, Furadan is an agrochemical that should be used in agriculture but majority of the cases reported occurred far away from agricultural areas indicating that furadan is intentionally used to kill wildlife, especially carnivores. The attached tables gives a summary of wildlife killed by Furadan poisoning since 1995 to date and table two indicates the lions killed by Furadan poisoning from 2002 to date.

Species Number Killed


Lions 76
Hyena 15
Silver backed jackals 2
Vultures 252
Hammercop 8
Fulvous ducks In Pick up Truck loads
White-faced Tree Duck In Pick up Truck loads
Knob-billed duck In Pick up Truck loads
Egyptian Geese In Pick up Truck loads
Ibis In Pick up Truck loads
Egrets In Pick up Truck loads
Spoonbills In Pick up Truck loads
Back-winged stilts In Pick up Truck loads
Storks In Pick up Truck loads
unspecified raptors In Pick up Truck loads
White-faced Whistling Duck 1
Mourning Dove 7
Laughing Dove 1
Helmeted Guinea fowl 3
Speckled Pigeon 1
Wattled Starling 1
Fan-tailed Widowbird 16
Open-billed Stork 1
Hippopotamus 24


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the equivalent of NEMA in the US, proposed the banning of furadan in the US on 24th July 2008 because of concerns similar to ours. The Farm Machinery and Chemicals Company (FMC) Corporation has since stopped all shipments of this product to Kenya and is in the process of buying back the product in the Kenyan Market.

This is a relief to Kenya; however there is need for intense Public education and awareness creation about the correct use of pesticides and their effects both negative and positive on the environment.

The situation is now critical as numerous other pesticides are available in the Kenyan market that can potentially be misused to kill wildlife and their ecosystems. KWS recommends the formation of an Inter-ministerial Task Force on Wildlife Poisoning which will provide leadership in this matter. The task force would comprise key stakeholders that include but not limited to KWS, PCPB, AAK, DVS, NEMA, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Public Health.

Paula’s comments

Readers should be aware that we were informed that the Minister for Wildlife directed that the inter-ministerial task force be created more than a year ago - just after the lion poisoning incident was reported in the Mara. To date it has not been formed. We hope that the Parliamentary instructions will be followed.

We at WildlifeDirect and many other conservationists welcome the openness and transparency that we are seeing from KWS over the poisoning of wildlife issues. We restate our desire to work closely with KWS on this and other conservation issues in and beyond Kenya. We also welcome FMC’s buy back and withdrawal of Furadan.

However the voluntary withdrawal is just not good enough for 3 key reasons.

1. FMC retains the right to re-introduce Furadan at any time
2. Furadan has been shown to be unsafe for use in USA where tolerance levels have been revoked by the EPA. If it s not safe enough for Americans, then it’s not safe enough for us, or anyone anywhere.
See how most birds died in pick -up truck loads! These were accidental poisonings related to the proper use of carbofuran. How can we condone such a pesticide in a country that is renown for its wildlife?
3. A ban creates the necessary awareness that KWS correctly states is essential to fight the devastating effects of wildlife poisoning.

We will continue to support the call for a total ban on carbofuran in Kenya and East Africa. Please help us, support this campaign and join us in the fight against carbofuran poisoning of wildlife. Thank you all for your great support.

Tags: , carbofuran, FMC, furadan, Kenya, lion poisoning, Masai Mara, Wildlife

Furadan - the greatest threat to Kenyas lions

Category: Masai Mara, Pesticides, carbofuran, lions | Date: Jun 05 2009 | By: paula

At a recent meeting, Ms. Alayne Cotteril explained that the misuse of carbofuran (sold as Furadan in Kenya) in Kenya could push Kenya’s few remaining lions over the threshold and into extinction.
Living with Lions is an organization managed by Dr Laurence Frank that believes the most urgent threat to lions today is the widespread use of poison to kill them in retaliation for depredation on livestock. This is their message.

Masai cow killed by lion

When lions or hyenas kill a cow, they eat part of it and come back the next night to finish the carcass. Livestock owners have learned that a universally available agricultural pesticide carbofuran (marketed as Furadan) is lethal to predators – they need only sprinkle a few cents worth of carbofuran on the carcass and any mammal or bird which feeds on it will die.

This cow (above), found by one of LWL’s Lion Guardians was killed by lions and partially eaten. They returned to the carcass the next night, providing an easy opportunity for a potential lion poisoner.

Lion poisoned with carbofuran

LWL has evidence of over 60 lions poisoned in just our Laikipia and Kilimanjaro study areas, sometimes whole prides at once. These are a small fraction of the predators actually killed by poison, because in the vast expanse of African rangelands, relatively few come to the attention of researchers or the authorities.

We frequently learn of a poisoning when we find one of our collared lions dead. The animals are often found next to a poisoned livestock carcass.

Richard Bonham’s evidence of large scale lion and hyena poisoning in 2001-2 motivated the establishment of his
Predator Compensation Fund and LWL’s Kilimanjaro Lion Conservation Project. More recently the Amboseli Predator Project has been started by LWL to investigate the problem in another area of Maasailand.

vulture poisoned with carbofuran

Carbofuran, which is banned in the US and Europe because of its lethal effects on wildlife, is sold throughout agricultural areas of Kenya. It is legitimately used as an insecticide and nematicide, but one need only ask any agricultural supply shop for something to kill stray dogs, hyena or lions, and for about $1.50 they will sell a small plastic jar of carbofuran granules, enough to kill a whole pride of lions or clan of hyenas.

Although poisoned predators are rarely found by conservationists, a more visible effect of predator poisoning is the disappearance of vultures and some species of eagles from the skies of Kenya. These also feed on poison-laced livestock carcasses or the bodies of dead lions and hyenas and are also killed, sometimes dozens at a time.

Some vulture species have become nearly extinct in Kenya and others are severely reduced. Elsewhere, carbofuran is also reported to be used for poisoning fish for human consumption, and crocodiles for their skins.

What can be done?

In the short term, Kenya must ban the importation and sale of carbofuran and replace its legitimate agricultural use with other pesticides which cannot be abused to kill wildlife.

However, in the long term, we must find ways to make predators more valuable to the rural people who share the land with wildlife. So long as wild animals are regarded by people as an expensive nuisance rather than a valuable resource, wildlife in Africa will continue to decline, eaten as cheap bush meat, poisoned and speared as pests.

Lion cub

In a world increasingly dominated by humans, crops and livestock, all Living with Lions programs are focused on this one ultimate challenge to conservation.

Tags: carbofuran, FMC, furadan, Kenya, Lion conservation, lions, living with lions, Poisoning wildlife

Mara lion poisoning incident update

Category: Masai Mara, Pesticides, carbofuran, lions | Date: Jun 04 2009 | By: paula

KWS highly suspect that Furadan (carbofuran) was used to kill the lion, hyenas and 36 vultures in the Masai Mara on the 25th June. Although sample analysis had not yet been concluded, all signs point to Furadan. We applaud KWS and the Narok warden of the Mara for taking such swift action on this incident and for arresting the perpetrators of this destruction. Our own inquiries suggest that up to 8 other lions of this pride my have been affected by this poisoning incident, though this has not been confirmed.

AP put out this press release today

MASAI MARA, Kenya - Kenya’s 2,000 lions are at grave risk from repeated drought and a poisonous pesticide that wildlife officials on Thursday blamed for at least 76 deaths since 2001.

The problems have contributed to the country’s lion population falling by 700 in the last six years, said Charles Musyoki, a senior scientist with the Kenya Wildlife Service. The figures were based on counts carried out every two years.

Officials in the protected 1,510-sq. kilometers (585-sq. miles) of the Masai Mara National Reserve showed an Associated Press reporter on Wednesday the remains of an 8-month-old lion and 36 dead vultures that fed on a tainted cow carcass.

Government scientists are still analyzing samples to determine the poison that killed the animals.

Government scientists say that at least 76 lions have been killed since 2001 after eating prey contaminated by a pesticide marketed as Furadan by Philadelphia-based FMC Corp.

FMC Corp. did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment Thursday.

The pesticide is used in Kenya to control insects on crops such as corn, rice and sorghum.

Pesticide imports stopped

Forestry and Wildlife Minister Noah Wekesa told Parliament on Tuesday that FMC has stopped the importation of Furadan into Kenya.
Chief Warden James Sindiyo

Warden James Sindiyo at the remains of an 8-month-old lion and 36 vultures in Masai Mara National Reserve.

FMC has said it stopped sales of Furadan to Kenya following a report in May 2008 that the pesticide may have been involved in poisoning lions and has instituted a buyback program in Kenya to remove any remaining product from the market.

Musyoki said that herdsmen were also killing lions to protect their livestock that share the large semi-arid reserves with the lions.

The official said the herdsmen had to be taught the importance of the animals to the economy. Tourists flock to the country to see Kenya’s big five — the lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and rhino.

“I don’t foresee a time when we can eliminate the lion-human conflict but we can minimize it,” said Musyoki. “The only bank account a pastoralist has is his animal. If a lion kills two cows out of four … that is like the disappearance of 50 percent of his account.”

Tags: carbofuran, FMC, furadan, Lion, lion killing, lions, Masai Mara, Wildlifedirect

5 responses so far

Furadan used to kill moles in Baringo

Category: Masai Mara, Pesticides, carbofuran, lions | Date: Jun 03 2009 | By: paula

A colleague dropped in to our office to tell me that the buy back program was working well in Baringo where farmers were up in arms because they can no longer purchase their favourite ‘mole killer’.

Listen to this interview and send us your thoughts.

Tags: , Baringo, carbofuran, FMC, furadan, JUANCO, Kenya, moles, Pesticides

One response so far
Voice of America on Furadan

Category: Masai Mara, Pesticides, carbofuran | Date: Jun 02 2009 | By: paula

This article has just been published on Voice Of America and aired on radio here
As Wildlife Dies, Kenya Considers Pesticide Ban
02 June 2009

Lion poisoned by Furadan - WildlifeDirect

In Kenya, parliament is being asked to ban a pesticide that’s been blamed for the deaths of hundreds of animals, including many lions. Kenyan MP John Matutho is introducing legislation to prohibit the use of Furadan – a cheap but lethal chemical originally manufactured by the US based FMC Corporation.

The conservation group Wildlife Direct supports the ban, which would replace a buy-back program for Furadan. It says local herdsmen are using it to poison lions and other carnivores threatening their livestock.

In Nairobi, WildlifeDirect executive director Dr. Paula Kahumbu says, “This is a pesticide that has recently been banned in the United States. It’s also banned in Europe because it’s been found to be unsafe to be used even if we follow the label instructions.… It’s one of the most dangerous pesticides actually available at the moment.”

It’s readily obtainable over the counter in Africa. “It’s very, very cheap. In fact, it’s probably the cheapest pesticide available,” she says.

Deadly to wildlife

In the early 1990s, it was discovered that water birds were dying large numbers after Furadanwas used in some irrigation systems.

“So that’s when people realized it was just devastating wildlife. And later on, the local communities realized it was powerful against almost any animal. In fact, birds are very sensitive, but so are cats,” she says.

Lions fall prey to Furadan

“We know over 60 lions that have been killed in the last two years and that’s probably the tip of the iceberg. And Kenya today has fewer than 2,100 lions remaining. We used to have over 30,000,” says Kahumbu.

Is the buyback plan working? The head of WildlifeDirect says, “The Furadan withdrawal and buyback is working in the sense that FMC is effectively withdrawing it from the shelves. The problem is the patents that FMC had have expired and Furadan, or carbofuran, is being produced now by Chinese, Indian and Pakistani companies.”

The conservation group fears that means unless a ban is imposed, the pesticide will easily find its way back to Kenya.

The chemical attacks the nervous system and only small amounts can kill an animal. It can also be fatal to humans if ingested.

“It takes only a quarter of a teaspoon to kill people, “says Kahumbu. She says lower concentrations can cause neurological problems, such as paralysis and breathing problems.

“This has been documented in other countries. It hasn’t been documented in Kenya. And I suspect it’s purely because there’s absolutely no monitoring system in place,” she says.

Enforcing a ban

“It’ll be easy to enforce in that if anybody is found using it there would automatically be very stringent responses. People would be arrested. They probably would be fined or maybe even go to jail,” she says.

Once a ban is imposed, she says, an education campaign can begin warning of the health dangers of Furadan and the risks of punishment for using it.

Tags: carbofuran, FMC, JUANCO, Kenya, Pesticides, poison, VOA, Voice of America, Wildlife

No responses yet
Another lion poisoned in the Mara

Category: Masai Mara, carbofuran, lions | Date: May 28 2009 | By: paula

We have just heard from a reliable source that at least 35 vultures, one lion and a few hyeanas were poisoned bye the Olololaimutiak gate in the Masai Mara last week.

Masai mara map

We are in the process of finding out if this is Furadan. It certainly sounds like Furadan from reports so far. Evidence will be collected and hopefully the government will conduct a full investigation to find out what happened, and to charge the offenders.

This week alone we have submitted four reports of wildlife poisoning that have occurred in the last 6 weeks or so, to the Pest Products Control Board in Nairobi. They are responsible for regulating the use of pesticides in Kenya and. Although we have not yet heard back from them, we are confident that they will conduct investigations and get back to us.

All suspected wildlife poisoning incidents that involve Furadan are also being forwarded to FMC who are working closely with the government regulators in Kenya.

One very positive outcome of this blog has been the general raising of awareness that there is somewhere to report the poisoning of wildlife in Kenya. To be more effective we need to reach other corners of Kenya and this takes time and money. Please share this information with your friends and networks and help us raise adequate funding to extend our work and reach more people and places where wildlife is silently dying.

One of our goals is to produce educational materials to share with the communties that are poisoning wildlife out of ignorance. Any help that you can provide towards this work would be greatly appreciated.

Post Script

After posting this article I sent word out on twitter to find out if it was true and I got this response from Kimojino who tweets as @maratriangle “@paulakahumbu It’s true, over on other side of Mara. A revenge killing after the cows were killed by lions, while grazing IN the reserve.”

We’re trying to find out if it was Furadan

Tags: Birds, carbofuran, FMC, furadan, lions, Masai Mara, Poisoning wildlife, Wildlifedirect

3 responses so far

Detoxication of Furadan

Category: Masai Mara, carbofuran, lions | Date: Mar 06 2009 | By: Martin Odino

Hi. Every evening after a scorching daytime heat we would patiently doze before our lap top screens waiting for our modems to pick up some modest internet connection to enable us get online. On our last night of our reconnaisance in Bunyala, somehow we could not doze or get down to some work online.

One woman narrated how she had bought a poisoned bird for her visiting ailing nephew for a special meal for the two of them that day. Earlier on that afternoon, we had been shown how a furadan-poisoned bird meat had to be prepared to rid it of the poison. Clearly, the hunters and consumers seemed well aware of furadan’s toxicity and said the special preparation of the meat rendered it safe.

The hunter and his wife also consumers of the poison-killed bird meat insisted that the meat had to be smoked and left to dry on heat till sizzling stoped and no more fluids dripped from the meat. Normal cooking then followed and with this you were guaranteed of no intoxication from the deadly ingredient in furadan.


Smoked wild bird meat. Once cooked, locals declare it fit for human consumption

I am not convinced that this method frees the meat entirelely of the furadan toxins especially because the hunter’s wife has for a while been sick and has a walking problem. Furadan?What we know is that lions in the mara intoxicated by furadan suffered limb paralysis. At Mwea rice scheme, another poisoning hot spot, wild ducks cooked without being smoked and consumed are blamed to cause stiffness especially in the knee joints of humans.

Tags: Bunyala, furadan, lions, wild birds Mwea rice scheme

4 responses so far

Poisoning News: Quite good and….still bad

Category: Masai Mara, Uncategorized, carbofuran, lions | Date: Aug 06 2008 | By: Martin Odino


Hi all. I have been back in the office for 3 days having just toured some of the areas where there has been documentation of carbofuran poisoning. All seems well at the gaze with the full spectacle of the wild animals and birds feeding, playing and even in the act that will culminate in breeding. But is all really well? Indeed it is good news of no poisoning for some places and still bad news of poisoning for others. Nonetheless, for the good news I managed a smile on the last day or is it night of the trip.


Yesterday I received a call alert (‘flash’) from an unfamiliar number. I flashed back but no return flash to signify any urgency. I ignored the number but while I scrolled through my call log to make another call this morning, I stumbled on the number that I was flashed with yesterday. It then struck my mind that I had noted down some numbers during the field trip. I checked my field note book and there I stumbled on it! It belonged to a certain guy in Mwea who I had approached and faked that I needed bird meat. We had then fixed a meeting for early this month. We agreed that he would alert me when he was ready and that he would link me with a bird meat vendor who poisoned the birds. You would not suspect that such a deal can take place in such a place especially given that everybody else seemed busy planting rice.

In the neighbourhood of Kisumu town, in Kano plains, some kilometres past the site that was Ahero Rice Scheme, there is an out grower scheme where locals are growing rice on individual rice plots. During a short stop over, I observed a lot of birds flocked in the place and a couple of farmers were out working in their plots. I talked to one old woman to know if the birds were not a problem at harvest time. She said they were indeed but her grandchildren would chase them away by wails and beating of metal cans. I then asked her if she thought killing of some of the birds would be a solution but she said she did not think it was necessary adding that in any case, birds were being poisoned for meat. I then confirmed that after all, there is poisoning in the area. For a while there was on-going bird poisoning in Ahero Rice Scheme but with the stalling of the operations of the rice scheme, bird congregations have reduced and Furadan supply for use in the irrigation scheme also cut, bringing a cessation in the poisoning frenzy.

Samburu NR seemed all tranquil, with the expected heat dominating the local climatic conditions and emphasizing ‘this is Samburu’. For three days I roamed the reserve with my friend and spotted many carnivores and scavengers. We got to see six lionesses in total but were disturbed that we had spotted no lions absolutely during the three whole-day drives around the national reserve. In fear that poisoning might have taken the lives of quite many of these I ended up talking to an expert in the area who advised me to relax and that the kings of the jungle were around, not always in company of their ‘wives’ and there were strategic localities where these could be found. I was glad the place was safe for the time despite earlier recorded incidences of carnivore poisoning in the area, though she added that she was in the process of getting to find out more about poisoning in the area.

Masai Mara also turned out looking good. I even passed by the Mara Conservancy incognito. The area has had the most recently documented cases of poisoning-this year, 2008. With hippos and lions as the reported victims, both seemed to do just fine. It was captivating witnessing lion/lionesses feasting, playing and in the act of breeding in one encounter.
The lioness below took advantage and got “the lion’s share!”


while the lion paid attention to his queen in an imminently heated up act that would bring forth another generation!

The vultures on the other hand looked good sprawled on the grass, not dead but waiting for thermals.


While others did not mind the flies after an unpoisoned meal.


Generally the presence of the Gnu on the first of their biannual migration to and from (Tanzania for this case) Kenya and Tanzania enhanced the bountifulness of wildlife in the Mara. Isn’t this beautiful?



Keep reading our Wildlife Direct’s blog for the latest in the wildlife poisoning scene.

Tags: Kano Plains, Masai Mara, Mwea Rice Scheme, poisoning, Samburu National Reserve, Wildlife Direct

4 responses so far

Paralysed lion video

Category: Masai Mara, carbofuran, lions | Date: Apr 29 2008 | By: admin

Greetings everyone, this is the first post of a multi authored STOP WILDLIFE POISONING blog.

Our meeting last week in Nairobi revealed the shocking damage that carbofurans are having on Kenya’s wildlife and led to a press release on Monday by Richard Leakey that has already attracted much local and international interest by the Daily Telegraph here, Reuters here FM radio here and in India here. The story has been picked up on several blogs like Not Honey here and Ethics and Animals here as well as here and Yubanet here. We expect the story to continue to generate interest.

This video taken by a vet Asuka shows the debilitating effect of secondary poisoning on a lion after it ate a hippopotamus that had died of carbofuran poisoning in the famous Masai Mara game reserve.

This incident raises grave concern about the toxic levels of pesticides that are entering into an otherwise pristine ecosystem, this could have been due to inappropriate use locally, or even possibly from agricultural areas may kilometers away. Either way, it shows just how dangerous this chemical is in Kenya.

We are looking for a good name for our campaign - In the USA there is a group called the Poison Action Network North America (PANNA), in UK there is the Campaign Against Illegal Poisoning of Wildlife (CAIP).

Sadly, the poisoning of wildlife is not unique to Kenya and big cats, but is also a problem across the sea - conservationists in the USA are raising awareness about the attempts by the city authorities in Philadelphia to rid parks of rats has wiped out squirrels. Humans are notoriously good at creating more problems than they solve.