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China's army of ducks battle locusts

  • Published at 12:41 pm February 25th, 2020
locusts
File photo: A swarm of desert locusts fly over a grazing land in Nakwamuru village, Samburu County, Kenya January 16, 2020 Reuters

Using ducks to prevent locust plague is economically and environmentally friendly compared with spraying pesticides

The Chinese have dispatched an army of 100,000 ducks to its Xinjiang border as locusts continue to swarm eastwards. 

A video shared by China's state-run news site CGTN shows thousands of ducks waddling in legions down a road on their way to face the insects, reports Express.

Dubbed "duck troops" by the Chinese media, being able to be more effective than pesticides, they have been used to tackle locust infestations before.

A Xinjiang resident, Wang, told Chinese newspaper Global Times, that previous locust outbreaks happened at the end of summer, and autumn in the region's grassland areas.

But winter temperatures combined with a lack of grass in the region makes life difficult for locusts.

Wang explained that a division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in Hami used to prevent the locust outbreak by raising ducks and chickens.

Using ducks to prevent locust plague is economically and environmentally friendly compared with spraying pesticides, according to Wang.

In this latest outbreak – said to be the worst in 25 years – one swarm of locusts in Kenya is said to have reached a whopping 60km, which is further than the distance between Manchester and Liverpool, as the crow flies.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has a locust watch bulletin.

Pakistan declared a national emergency as grasshoppers destroyed crops, leading to food shortages, prompting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to call the event "the worst locust attacks in decades."

Bangladesh has also been alerted to keep watch on probable locust infestation, which the country has never experienced over the last five decades.