China to send ‘duck army’ to help Pakistan fight locusts

China to send ‘duck army’ to help Pakistan fight locusts. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 27 February 2020

China to send ‘duck army’ to help Pakistan fight locusts

  • China deployed ducks, whose natural diet includes insects, to fight a similar infestation two decades ago
  • Legion of lotus-eating waterfowl will be sent from the eastern province of Zhejiang

BEIJING: China is planning to dispatch a 100,000-strong army of ducks to help Pakistan combat a massive locust infestation, a local newspaper reported Thursday.
The legion of lotus-eating waterfowl will be sent from the eastern province of Zhejiang following the earlier dispatch of a team of Chinese experts to Pakistan to advise on a response to the infestation that is being called the worst in 20 years, the Ningbo Evening News said.
China deployed ducks, whose natural diet includes insects, to fight a similar infestation in its northwestern region of Xinjiang two decades ago, reportedly with considerable effectiveness. Their use is both much less expensive and environmentally damaging than the use of pesticides, the paper quoted Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Agricultural Technology researcher Lu Lizhi as saying.
Ducks are also more suited to the task than other poultry, such as chickens, Lu said.
“Ducks like to stay in a group, so they’re easier to manage than chickens,” he said. A duck is also capable of eating more than 200 locusts per day, compared to just 70 for a chicken, Lu said. “They have three-times the combat capability,” he added.
Calls to the provincial government press office seeking confirmation of the report rang unanswered Thursday and a number provided for the publicity department at the agricultural sciences institute was constantly engaged.
Pakistan was invaded by the locust swarm last year, which proceeded to lay waste to the country’s cotton crop and is now menacing the wheat harvest.


More than 12,000 could be infected with virus, Pakistan’s health chief says

Updated 21 min 19 sec ago

More than 12,000 could be infected with virus, Pakistan’s health chief says

  • Confirmed cases soar to 1,500, with Punjab province emerging as new epicenter for deadly disease 
  • Majority of infected people had recently returned from Iran 

ISLAMABAD: With 14 dead and new infections reported everyday, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza, said on Saturday that more than 12,218 people were suspected of having coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country.

“[There are] 7,180 people in quarantine facilities across the country, out of these we conducted the tests for 3,157 and 799 were positive,” Mirza said, adding that Pakistan’s mortality rate is still “very low as compared to other countries.”

On Sunday, the number of confirmed infections rose to more than 1,526, with Punjab province emerging as the new epicenter of the deadly disease in the country.

“Confirmed cases include 558 in Punjab, 481 in Sindh, 188 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 138 in Balochistan, 116 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), 43 in Islamabad and 2 in Azad Kashmir,” information posted on a government portal showed on Sunday.

According to the official data, 28 people have recovered from the disease while 11 were still in critical condition.

A majority of the infected people are from those who returned from Iran recently, where the confirmed number of cases are reported to be over 35,000 with more than 2,500 deaths recorded thus far.

Moeed Yusuf, adviser on security, said on Saturday that Pakistan’s eastern border (with India) and western borders (with Iran and Afghanistan) would remain closed for two more weeks.

However, according to immigration documents seen by Arab News, despite the closure of the border, 113 pilgrims crossed into Balochistan from Iran on Thursday, bringing the total number of people – entering Pakistan through the Taftan border – to 6,080, since February.