South-American bird destroys German crops

While many farmers and livestock owners worry about damages from wild boars and wolves, some farmers in Germany worry about something else:   the Nandu. This big flightless bird is also known as a Rhea, originally from South-America. It is distantly related to the ostrich and emu. Surprisingly, you will find the only European wild population of nandus in Germany. Despite efforts to limit population growth, numbers are increasing. Farmers worry for their crops and demand intensive regulation.

Ineffective egg-drilling

A growing group of nandus established itself in the German Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, on the border with Schleswig-Holstein, as the Ostsee-Zeitung writes in their article. A few founding individuals escaped a Nandu-farm back around 2000 and made their way to the Biosphere Reserve Schaalsee. In 2017, the Agricultural Ministry of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ordered to drill holes in the Nandu-eggs, to avoid large numbers of newborn. As a result, the population decreased with 22 individuals. This year a hole was drilled in 190 eggs, but the population grew from 205 to 566 individuals, according to the annual count. More than half of the population are yearlings.

Damage to crops

The nandus seem to feast on fields of wheat and rapeseed, and the available compensation funds are not sufficient. The Agricultural Minister and representatives of farmers’ associations would like to see other measures to keep the population under control. Killing male nandus is mentioned as one of the solutions. Still, the number of affected farmers is still relatively low, so political pressure is also low. Furthermore, nandus are not listed as invasive species at this moment. 

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