Bhutan farms loosing birds to protected predators

28-03-2012 | | |

A number of village poultry farms in the eastern district of Trashigang are being ravaged by wild cats and the yellow-throated marten leaving farmers with huge losses and unsure of how to deal with the menace.

Farmers liken the purge to an epidemic, one farmer woke to find 32 birds neatly bitten in the neck, of the 50 layers she had started with some months ago. And the attacks by wild cats are increasing, occurring with greater frequency in the day time as well.
While soem farmers keep the chickens for meat, most are kept for their eggs.
Initially farmers bought dogs, in an effort to dissuade the predators, but to no avail.
Another farmer only around 84 birds now, from 170 two years ago.  Most of his birds were either killed or taken away by wild cats.
 Most of the poultry farmers took loans to start the farm but, with continuous attacks by wild cats, they are very worried of how to repay.
The farm owners said that government should intervene, and try to come up with some measures, since hunting the yellow-throated marten is not allowed.
“Although the yellow throated marten isn’t endangered and threatened, forestry law doesn’t permit deliberate killing,” a Bhutanese forest officer, Jigme Tshering, said.
According to him, the loss of birds to wild cats is because of the carelessness of owners. “They’ve been compromising the quality of shed to cut costs,” he said. “The sheds need to have cement floors and strong nets.
The only control measure is improving the design of the shed, and fixing the gaps and holes.”

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