Rodents have the potential to breed quickly and infest crops leading to serious economic damage. In Tanzania, damage to crops is large attributed to Mastomys natalensis in fields. Currently, reducing the size of rodent pest populations generally relies on lethal control methods, including the use of rodenticides. These methods, however, provide only a short-term solution because the colony soon recovers and the problems posed by the rodent persist.
Similarly, these methods are often uneconomical, environmentally hazardous hence, socially unacceptable. There are increasing demands for effective, non-lethal approaches to be developed. An idealized non-lethal management system would produce a significant decrease in rodent pest activity within sensitive area and, in the longer-term, reduce the numbers of problem of rodents in the vicinity. Chemical repellents signals could produce an immediate avoidance response in rodent pests and hence restricting the growth of problem populations.
This project aimed at providing a “proof of concept” for the use of predator-derived odours to limit crop loss in field by Mastomys natalensis especially during the susceptible crop growth stages. The hypothesis here is to test if the cat urine odour has a significant rodent repellent effect. The study will be conducted in laboratory and field. Laboratory experiments will aim at analyze the potential rodent repellent effect of concentrated cat urine. If proven effective, cat urine shall be fractionated to determine the active repellent component which would then be adsorbed on a carrier and used in the synthesis the product which will be used in field for further analysis. The product will be made available to farmers and other stakeholders in the form of repellent manageable at community level for rodent management strategies. The total budget being requested for four years of the proposed work is Tanzanian Shillings 275,926,820/= only.
2012 – 2017
Dr. AAS Katakweba
Dr. GF Mgode
Mr. GG Mhamphi
Prof. RS Machang’u
Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH)