Birding News: Palm oil planters use birds of prey for pest control

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Palm oil planters use birds of prey for pest control

The palm oil industry has gone bird crazy by drafting owls to combat the menace of rodent pests, hoping in the process to burnish its green credentials and save money.

Leading Southeast Asian producers of the vegetable oil have tried different pest control schemes over the years, from snakes to poisons, but the high success rate -- and low cost -- of owls has prompted more planters to turn to them for help in reducing damage.

Some even have designated "owl trainers" who tend the birds from when they are still in the shell.

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