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Indian house crows return to haunt Mombasa residents

Friday April 26 2019

Indian house crows

Indian house crows in Mombasa on April 24, 2019. The birds are wreaking havoc as they invade homes and hotels in search of food. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WINNIE ATIENO
By WINNIE ATIENO
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When Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho allocated Sh30 million in his budget to eradicate the Indian house crow, residents and the business community criticised the plan, saying it was a waste of money.

But a year later, the invasive birds, locally known as kunguru or kurabu, have come back to haunt residents.

Their population has increased, taunting residents and causing panic.

The birds have been wreaking havoc in the tourism hub, preventing tourists and residents from holding outdoor activities.

At the main restaurant of a busy well-known eatery, Ms Fauzia Abdhallah had just placed her fish, commonly known as samaki wa kupaka — cooked using a Swahili traditional recipe — and coconut soup with rice cooked in coconut sauce, known as wali wa nazi, on the table.

HUNGRY

Ms Abdhallah was hungry after a hard day’s job.

As she was eating her delicious lunch, an Indian house crow was keenly watching the food as it flew around the table planning its next move.

As she was about to bite the fish, the voracious bird grabbed the piece and flew away.

Before the astonished woman, who had saved Sh1,000 for the special meal, could comprehend what had just happened, a murder of crows flew to her table and grabbed whatever their leader had left.

That is what most beach hotels, cafés and open-air restaurants in Mombasa are grappling with as the birds invade their establishments.

SOCIAL MEDIA

And now residents and traders have come out on social media to ask county officials to get rid of the crows.

But homeowners in Vipingo Ridge, a posh estate where most tycoons and politicians have homes, are using a variety of tricks to get rid of the annoying birds.

They are collecting and smashing the crows’ eggs.

A Facebook user, Mr Mohamed Ismail, suggested that residents use a chemical.

But Pride Inn and Pride Inn Flamingo resorts have found a new way of preventing the birds from pecking visitors’ food.

“We started hanging bottles on fishing lines last year when the birds became a nuisance to our guests in the main restaurant; it has worked wonders. They can-not fly inside the restaurant because their wings will be caught by the fishing lines, they are among the most intelligent birds,” Mr Stephen Wambua said.