Highly toxic pesticide kills hippos, paralyses lions in Kenya

Other News Materials 28 April 2008 20:37 (UTC +04:00)

A Kenyan wildlife group demanded Monday the banning of a highly toxic pesticide after five hippopotamuses died and four lions that fed on their bodies were paralysed, reported dpa.

Traces of carbofuran, the toxic insecticide that is banned in the European Union, were found in areas where the hippos were known to graze.

"We are appealing to the Kenya government ... (to) ban the importation, sale, distribution and use of this deadly chemical in Kenya," said Richard Leakey, anthropologist and chairman of Wildlife Direct.

Leakey said the chemical was "widely abused" because it can be bought cheaply over the counter from any agricultural goods' vendor.

Only the more concentrated version of it is restricted like other poisons.

Wildlife Direct said exposure to carbofuran overstimulates the nervous system, which can cause paralysis or death.

The chemical is especially lethal to birds, who mistake the pesticide for a plant seed and eat it whole.

Some 187 vultures were killed near Kenya's Athi river in 2004 because of carbofuran poisoning.