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Army of 100,000 Chinese Ducks On Standby To Combat Locust Swarms
A troop of special Chinese ducks is waiting to be deployed to neighboring Pakistan to fight a swarm of crop-eating pests that threaten regional food security.
At least 100,000 ducks are expected to be sent to Pakistan as early as the second half of this year to combat a desert locust outbreak, according to Lu Lizhi, a senior researcher with the Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The ducks are “biological weapons” and can be more effective than pesticide, said Lu, who is in charge of the project in tandem with a university in Pakistan.
“One duck is able to eat more than 200 locusts a day,” Lu said in a telephone interview on Thursday, citing results of experiments to test the ducks’ searching and predation capabilities.
A trial will start in China’s western region of Xinjiang later this year before the ducks are sent to Pakistan, Lu said.
Swarms of desert locusts have been spreading through countries from eastern Africa to South Asia, destroying crops and pastures at a voracious pace. The pest plague, together with unseasonal rain and a scourge of low quality seeds, has hit major crops in Pakistan’s largest producing regions, weighing on its already fragile economy. And it has also migrated into India.
It will be crucial for China, which shares a land border with Pakistan and India, to prevent an invasion.
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