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Vertebrate Pest Control, SARC, Karachi

VERTEBRATE PEST CONTROL INSTITUTE
University of Karachi Campus, SARC, Karachi

OBJECTIVES

  • To identify the major vertebrate pest problems in different agro-ecosystems

  • To assess crop and food storage losses from vertebrate pests.

  • To develop safe, effective and economical control methods through testing new products which are suitable and practical for farmers.

  • To test rodenticides and avicides both under laboratory and field conditions so as to help the concerned agencies in regulating their use.

  • To demonstrate vertebrate pest control techniques at farm level through pilot control programmes.

  • To Investigate rodent borne diseases hazardous to human and livestock health.

  • To transfer knowledge to the farming community through the Provincial Agricultural Services by holding master trainer seminars and producing a wide range of advisory bulletins, leaflets and pamphlets.

Additional

  • To commercialize VPCI developed control technologies to various stake-holders through services provision and sale of products. 

CURRENT RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Project Title: Transfer of Rodent Control Technologies through commercialization and services in the province of Sindh.

SALIENT RESEARCH RESULTS/FINDINGS
Urban Areas

  • Customize services activities related to rodent control in Civil hospital, Govt. of Sindh, is in progress and one year renewed contract, w.e.f July, 2010-June 2011 is signed between VPCI/SARC/PARC and Civil hospital, Govt. of Sindh.

  • On request of M/S Mekran, sea foods processing factory at Fish Harbour, Karachi, VPCI technical team visited the factory and their findings were submitted in feasibility report to offer customize rat control services.

  • Customize rat control services at Karachi Fish Harbour, West Wharf Karachi, ended in June, 2011 in. The negotiation are in progress to provide de-rating services in Fishing boats managed by Fishermen’s Cooperative Society, in collaboration with Marine Fisheries Department, Govt. of Pakistan, West Wharf Karachi.

  • On request of some Poultry Farm, a detail survey was conducted at Poultry Estate- I & II, off Super High way situated in suburbs the Karachi and following Poultry Farms were surveyed:-

  • Average losses of eggs due to rats eating was calculated as 20eggs/day with monthly loss of egg in 250 poultry farms situated in Poultry Estate-II at Karachi was calculated as 150,000 egg/monthly with of annual monetary loss of 1.40 million rupee.

  • One request of Deputy General Manager (Site), Precision Engineering complex, Jinnah Terminal, survey was conducted to assess the population dynamics of rodents in the complex. Severe commensal rats infestation was recorded in various sections. Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus being the dominant species followed by R. rattus and Mus musculus.

  • Survey was conducted at Fauji Akbar Portia (FAP) Terminal, Port Qasim which mainly deals with export of rice wheat and fertilizer from port Norway rat Rattus norvegicus infestation was recorded in central power station, cable net work, stores and open shed etc. Rats gnawing to underground cable intercepted the smooth power supply to loading machines and weighing scale and in offices. Detail technical report was submitted along cost estimates on yearly basis.

  • Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF) is the second largest factory in public sector manufacturing gear tool and related machine parts after Pakistan Steel Mills, in Public sector. The central power station is linked with cable net work to various shops and laboratory. The under ground cable is ofter gnawed by rodent causing break down of power supply. VPCI/SARC has already provided services in eradication of commensal rats. However, the problem gains magnitude after gap of one year and a detail survey was conducted and report has been submitted along with cost estimates to PMTF management.

Agricultural Area

  • Demonstration of PARC rat baits at Jati area, Thatta district in collaboration with Agha Khan Planning council, shah Bunder Chapter. Two farming communities viz i) Hussainabad ii) Tarr Khawja. In both area, 48 farmers participated. They were provided detail knowledge related to bait application methods in sugarcane and paddy crops. Four more CBO of the council were imparted training in Aug-Sept-2010. This is expected to cover 3-4 thousand acres of sugar cane and paddy crop in Jati, Taluka, Thatta during FY. 2011-2012.

  • A Two weeks (19-30th July,2010) training course on “Vertebrate Pest Management in field crops” was designed and conducted training for four officers of cane department of two sugar Mills, Mirza sugar Mills Ltd. Lawari Sharif, Badin and Pangrio sugar Mills Ltd. Badin, Altogether 22 lectures were delivered. The training course was highly appreciated by the management of Mirza Sugar Mills Ltd and Pangrio sugar Mills Ltd Badin.

  • During first week of May, 2010 training was conducted to circle staff of Pangrio sugar Mills related to rat control in cane fields in which twenty five (25) staff members participated including senior staff of cane department. It was also finalized to hold (06) farmers fields days, one in each circle during September 2011. But due to heavy flooding in the country especially the project area i.e Thatta, Badin the control activities were badly affected.

  • As special project activity at SZABIST Agricultural farm near Gharo was cleared off from the infestation of Porcupine and field rats. Nearly 200 animals of Indian porcupine,( Hystrix indica) burrows (dens) were baited with PARC rat baits (Containg Zinc phosphide and brodifacoum) and 100% population was eliminated as a result of sustained baiting activities. Besides sub-surface baiting with 10gm sachet of Zinc Phosphide (2%) grain baiting against short-tailed mole rat, Nesokia indica proved highly effective resulting in 97% rat mortality at SZABIST farm, Gharo, Thatta .

  • To meet the project objectives for providing customized services on rodent pest management, one day training workshop was organized for progressive farmers, NGO’s personnel and provincial Agricultural Extension staff of Thatta districts on 17-Febuvary, 2011 in training hall of National Sugar Crops Research Institute (NSCRI), Makli, Thatta. A total of 180 participants from Talukas Sujawal, Jati, Ghulamullah, Mirpur- Sakro and Ghora bari etc attended the workshop in addition to growers of the area. They were provided literature related to rodent biology, their damage pattern and management through PARC developed bait formulations Besides, on-field demonstration was provided for effective control of rat menace thus to enhance wheat crop produce. Ready to use PARC bait was provided on payment basis alongwith literature.

  • On request of Haji Adam Khan Jokhio, Ex-Nazim, Darsana UC, one day training day was organized at Jokhio Farm in which 68 local farmers participated. They were demonstrated about field rat damage pattern, damage of porcupine (the biggest rodent) and use of PARC made ready to use baits in field, bunds and in orchards areas, thus to get maximum success against these pest animals.

  • Four, one day training programmes were organized at Agricultural Extension offices of Thatta districts, Farmers gathering were arranged to create awareness related rodent pests biology, their damage and to promote marketing activities of PARC rat baits. Overall, 200 participants showed keen interest in rat biology, their damage pattern and effective management through application of PARC Rat baits. The effectiveness of PARC rat baits was demonstrated to create awareness and motivation among participants to adopt safe and effective rat bait technology to enhance crop yield.
     

Location

      No. of participants

Ghulamullah

45

Ghora bari

30

Mirpur bathoro

60

Gharo

65

Total

200

 

Project Title : Identification of Rodent Species Infesting date palm orchards at Nok-Kundi and Kharan, Balochistan.

SALIENT RESEARCH RESULTS/FINDINGS.
Cleaned skulls and prepared skins of rat species infesting date-palm orchards at Mashkale, Distt Kharan and Nok-kundi ,Distt Chaghai, Balochistan were sent to Dr Paula Jekins , Mammal Group, Department of Zoology, Natural History Museum, London for their opinion and confirmation.

Dr Paula Jekins confirmed that the specimens of rats were Nesokia indica not Bendicota, on the basis of shorter tail relative to head and body length (respectively 45% and 60% in these specimens, 75% - 80% in Bandicota) and shoter palatal foramina length (< 5.00 in specimens under study > 8.00 in Bandicota).

Project Title: Occurrence of Rodent Contamination (filth) in grain commodities sampled from main grain markets of Karachi.

SALIENT RESEARCH RESULTS/FINDINGS

  • Rat contamination in grain commodities is a great threat for human health and economy. During the reporting period, rodent contamination in rice sampled from main grain markets of Karachi was observed and analysed.

  • For assessment of rat contamination/filth, regular surveys of main grain markets of Karachi were carried out. Shopkeepers were interviewed to know the severity of the rat problem and control measures adopted by them. Rat signs (gnawing, odour, smudge marks and excreta) were observed in/around the shops. Data were recorded on printed proformas.

  • Rice samples were collected from randomly selected shops in each market (10 samples from each). Samples were analysed in laboratory to identify rat contamination/filth.

  • Analysis of samples to determine rat filth/contamination in markets surveyed indicated (per 250g sample) 0.094 ± 1.40g in Super Market, Liaqatabad; 0.065 ± 0.90g in Gole Market, Nazimabad; 1.03 ± 2.60g in Empress Market, Saddar; 0.92g ± 1.01 in Cantt. Area, Saddar; 0.97±1.12g in Khudda Market, DHA;1.08 ± 1.20g in Water Pump Market, F. ‘B’ Area; 0.092 ± 1.20g in Shadman Market, North Karachi; 1.52 ± 1.03g in Ranchore Line Market; 1.28 ± 1.03g in Banarus Chowk; 1.85 ± 2.01g in Aligarh Market, Orangi; 1.92 ± 1.48g in Pak Colony; 1.60 ± 1.26g in Gulshan-e-Iqbal; 1.46 ± 1.09g in Gulistan-e-Jauhar and 1.03 ± 0.95g in Safora Goth.

  • Trapping of rats in all the surveyed markets (for five successive trap nights) revealed, high population of Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus. Roof rat, Rattus rattus, and house mouse, Mus musculus, were trapped from some markets of slum areas. Shopkeepers and general public were randomly interviewed to investigate rat nuisance. Rat signs (gnawing, smudge marks, foot prints, odour and faeces) and seven rats were trapped from the markets, which indicate an urgent need for rat eradication.

  • Microbial contamination analysis collected of grains from the markets is in progress. 
     

Project Title : Laboratory testing of some indigenous plants for their toxicity against field rodents.

SALIENT RESEARCH RESULTS/FINDINGS

  • Study is aimed for evaluating toxicological effect of selected indigenous plants for their toxicity to develop bio-rodenticides. Literature on toxicity and cultivation of toxic plants, Datura metal and Giliricidia sepum were collected. Technical discussions on the subject matter were Held with many scientists and professionals at HEJ Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Eastern Medicine, Hamdard University and Departments of Botany and Zoology, University of Karachi.

  • Datura metal is being cultivated at VPCI premises for bait formulation. Seeds of Datura plants were collected from many areas for bait formulation. Glirisidia sepum leaves were collected from Coastal Agricultural Research Centre, SARC, PARC, Karachi, whereas ethanolic extraction of the leaves was carried out by PCSIR Laboratories.

  • Glirisidia sepum, ethanolic leaves extract is being tested in different doses against the field rats, Bandicota bengalensis, trapped from agricultural fields of Thatta. Rats were acclimatised in live animal laboratory. After acclimation, mean weight recorded was 205.48 ± 0.92g for male, whereas 199.56 ± 1.20g for female rats.

  • The treated rice (Gliricidia leaves extract), offered to rats (replicates: 5 male & 5 female), with 1g Gliricidia leaves, showed mean intake of 11.93 ± 1.83g per day per male rat and 11.05 ± 1.54g per day per female rat. (in control, mean intake observed was 13.80 ± 1.72g per day per male rat and 13.21 ± 0.24g per day per female rat. With 2g Glirisidia leaves, the rats intake decreased and the they became sluggish. The mean intake was observed 7.16 ± 1.32g per day per male rat and 6.73 ± 1.51g per day per female rat. (in control, mean intake observed was 14.60 ± 1.02g per day per male rat and 12.96 ± 1.54g per day per female rat).

  • The role of fleas in the transmission of plague and murine typhus is well known. The population density of fleas the main vectors of plague infection has an important role in the existence and evolution of natural plague foci. 

Project Title: Laboratory evaluation of some commercial plastic cables with various physical repellants against short-tailed mole rat Nesokia indica and Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus.

SALIENT RESEARCH RESULTS/FINDINGS
Both urbran and field rodents cause colossal losses to field crops properties and storage commodities. Optic fiber cables are commonly used for tele-communication networking in Defence, Railway and allied organizations but are severely attacked by rodents resulting in disturbance of signals and communication etc. Four commercially available plastic coated cables with steel coating, aluminum coating, glass yarn (2%) and (3%) barriers were individually tested against R. norvegicus and N. indica to ascertain the intensity of damage and the repellency trend. No. choice and free choice studies showed that cable coated with glass yarn (3%) was recoded the least damaged thus proving excellent repellant for rodents followed by steel, glass yarn (2%) and aluminum coating cables. 

Research conducted on various brand of markets available cables provide guide line for manufactures to take into consideration the behavior and damage pattern by rodents towards coated and repellent materials for better application of safety factors against burrowing rodents.

Project Title: Abundance and intensity of ectoparasite infection in urban and field rats in Sindh”
 

SALIENT RESEARCH RESULTS/FINDINGS
During the report period, surveys were calculated in Urban areas of Karachi including residential buildings, commercial shops, bakeries, vegetables and fruit shops and grain storage areas. Trapping of commercial rats/mice and shrews (insectivores) were carried out bout 10-12 localities in the city. 20 live traps were set at each locality for 3 nights.

Parasites collected during the period consisted of five species belonging to four genera, namely Xenoprylla astia, X Cheopis, Synosternus Coleoptera SP, Nosopryllus SP and Ctenocephalicted SP.

The more prevalent species related that X astia make up about 92.00%-97.00% of the monthly collection (40 positive rats with 579 fleas) and 11 positive rats with 238 fleas) where as X. Cheopis the less abundant species rages upto 92% of the total monthly fleas catch.

POST GRADUATE STUDIES BEING CONDUCTED IN VPCI
Ph.D

  1. Investigation to overcome poison bait aversion trends in economically important rodent species from Pakistan Dr.Amjad Pervez, Degree awarded from Karachi University.

  2. Food habits of rodents of economic importance for Pakistan. (Dr. Shaher Bano Lathiya, Degree awarded from Karachi University.)

  3. Studies on helminth parasites of commensal and field rats in Karachi and some districts of Sindh. (Dr. Noor-un-Nisa, Degree awarded from Karachi University.)

  4. Present status and socilo-biological aspects of head louse infestation among school children in various localities of Karachi region. (Shamim Fatima. Degree award from Karachi University.)

  5. Studies on reproductive biology and post-natal development of economically important field rats of Pakistan. (Syed Muzaffar Ahmed, research study in progress.)

  6. Diet of an Avian Predator, the barn owl (Tyto alba) in some district of Sindh and Balochistan with reference to rodent pests of agricultural crops. (Lubna Ali, research study in progress.)

  7. Helminth parasites of some birds in Karachi and its suburbs. (Sanjota Bai, research study in progress.)

  8. Incidence and intensity of intestinal parasitic infections in various occupational and age groups in human population of Swat, Pakistan. (Wali Khan, research study in progress.).
     

Popular Article /Advisory Leaflets on rodent pest management

  1. Barani Fasion Mey Coohoon Ka Control (in Urdu)

  2. Dhaan Ki Fasal Mey Choohoon Ka Sudebaab (in Urdu)

  3. Ghndum Ki Fasal Mey Choohoon Ka Sudebaab (in Urdu)

  4. Keemyae Dawaoon Sey Choohoon Ka Tadaruk (in Urdu)

  5. Faslow Mey Choohoon Ka Tadaruk Keegyae (in Urdu)

  6. Phuldar Darakhtoon Kay Zururrasan Keroon Kay Insedad-O-Bachaow Ka Asan Tareeqa (in Urdu)

  7. Gunay Ki Fasal Mein Choohoon Ka Tadaruk (in Urdu)

  8. Seh Ki Tabah Karian Aur Us Ka Tadaruk. (in Urdu)

  9. Choohoon Ka Tadaruk, Kissan Mala Mall Mulk Khush Hal (Poster 23” X 18” Size).

  10. PARC Rat Baits (Poster).

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED

  • Developed “PARC Rat Bait” package that is highly effective, palatable and ready to use formulation for both urban and field rodent pests.

  • Developed “PARC Rat Block” technology for Indian porcupine control, which has proved highly effective to knock down pest population in field crops, nursery plantation and irrigation channels.

  • Developed “Paraffinized capsular technique” against wild boar, a highly destructive pest of sugarcane, groundnut, maize crops, etc. 

RESEARCH PROJECTS COMPLETED
Project Title: Developmental Biology, Feeding Pattern and management strategy against Indian Porcupine (Hysterix Indica) in Sindh and Balochistan provinces. (ALP Funded project).

SALIENT RESEARCH RESULTS/FINDINGS

  • Generation of new knowledge related to breeding biology, population dynamics, breeding aspects and other limiting factors of Indian porcupine, Hystrix indica to fill up and the existing gap related to pest biology.

  • Evaluation and development of various models of Indian porcupine management for their effective control based on series of laboratory and filed studies.

  • Enhancement crop productivity, saving of irrigation water and to increase timber production through adoption of better management practices against the pest.

  • Publication of advisory leaflets /book lets based of three year in research to create awareness for better control of pest of agriculture, irrigation, forestry and rangeland.

Impact in term of utilization of out comes of project by enduser:

  • The procedure management models developed through in depth research were laboratory and field situation were disseminated to various target groups and upto 95% success in pest management is achieved.

  • Three advisory book lets / leaflets were published for line departments i,e agriculture, irrigation and forestry personnel and farming community for effective control of the pest.

  • The project findings played a significant to generate more income for various target groups through minimizing the losses to crop, irrigation water and forestry in affected areas of Baluchistan.

  • The project helped to create better knowledge for effective control of Indian porcupine (H.indica) through arranging farmers gatherings, work shops and on field demonstration in various districts of Sindh and Balochistan Provinces.

Studies on breeding biology post-natal development and control trials against rodents damaging date-palm orchards of Balochistan province (ALP Funded project).

SALIENT RESEARCH RESULTS/FINDINGS

  • Mole rat (Nesokia sp.) and Indian gerbil (Tatera indica) were identified as pre-dominant species. Mole rat (Nesokia sp.) was the main culprit causing colossal losses to date-palm trees. This rat species might have migrated to Pakistan area from Irani Balochistan.

  • The trees bearing sapling/sucker plants were damaged more severely. The clump of sucker plants provides good cover and shelter to rats. Similarly soils binding around the trees provide good support for burrowing to rodents.

  • Out of 1837 trees observed in date-palm orchards of Nok Kundi, 406 (22.10%) were found damaged and economic losses of Rs.5.33 million was calculated to justify the control operation.

  • Frequent face washing and social grooming behaviors among the Indian gerbil (Tatera indica) and mole rat (Nesokia sp.) may be useful in using the tracking rodenticides for effective control of rats.

  • During present study it was revealed that soil condition in Nok kundi date-palm orchards was excellent for fumigation as there was sufficient moisture inside the burrow due to high water table in the area. Dampness in the soil may play an important role in an effective fumigation for the control of rats.

  • Bait enhancement studies revealed that Date fruit, Milk powder and Brown sugar additive can significantly enhance the bait acceptance in rats to achieve a successful control of this economically important rodent pest infesting the date-palm orchards.

  • Food preference studies to develop a suitable bait base revealed that mole rat Nesokia sp.) was not very consistent in its preference to a particular food. It was also been observed that this species mostly prefer mixed diet and no grain was totally rejected. This type of feeding behaviour may be exploited for enhancing acceptance of poison baits as the bait can be quickly interchanged to overcome the drawback of bait shyness induced by acute poison. However it was concluded from no-choice and choice tests that rats preferred the rice most over wheat, millet, maize, peanut and sunflower seed.

  • Food habit studies indicate that mole rat (Nesokia sp.) has a narrow feeding niche, and in non-crop lands of Balochistan is largely herbivorous in diet.

  • The food habit studies shows that mole rat (Nesokia sp.) throughout the season feeds principally upon the date-palm fruits, stem, grasses and roots but date-palm stem was the chief of the diet.

  • The presence of date-palm fruit in the diet of mole rat in non-fruiting season indicate presence of hoarding behaviour in this rat species, as well as post harvest losses due to absence of adequate knowledge of post harvest management in the farmers of the area.

  • Burrow baiting was found most suitable in the date-palm orchards of Nok- Kundi and Mashkale in view of high velocity dusty wind and ecological conditions of the area as well as for the safety of grazing ruminants and live stock.

  • Modified PVC pipe bait stations were found suitable to place the rodenticidal bait.

  • Highest mortality (100%) was obtained by the use of 5g sachet of milk powder as bait base containing 0.22% Sodium monofluroacetate (1080), which were inserted deep into the live burrows of rodents.

  • Aluminum phosphide tablets also give excellent result and 95.45% reduction in rodent activity was obtained as sufficient moisture in the soil increased the release of phosphine gas in the burrows.

  • Brodifacoum (0.005%) and Zincc Phosphide(2%) pellet bait sachets containing 20g bait burrow baiting gave also encouraging results and reduction in rodent activity was obtained 85.71% and 75.43% respectively. 
     

ADVISORY SERVICES/TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

  • PAF base, Nawabshah

  • Naval complex, Karsaz

  • State Bank of Pakistan, Islamabad

  • Governor House, Karachi

  • Sindh Secretariat

  • PIA Hospital, Karachi

  • NICVD, Karachi

  • JPMC, Karachi

  • University of Karachi

  • PNS Dockyard

  • PPRI, Karachi

  • PMTF, Karachi

  • Civil Hospital, Karachi

  • Karachi Fish Harbour, Port Qasim Authority

  • Marine Fisheries Dept., Govt. of Pakistan.

  • Sindh Abadghar Board, Hyderabad.

  • Agha Khan Economic Planning Board for Shah Bundar, Jati.

 

RESOURCE PERSON:

Dr. Amjad Pervaiz

SSO/Director( Incharge)

 

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