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Reintroducing two species of birds of prey to limit pest populations: a good innovative practice

In the Spanish region of Murcia, spread out over 230ha, Bonduelle grows 18 varieties of salad (lettuce, curly endive, oak leaf lettuce, baby sprouts, spinach, etc.). The group develops and applies production systems there in accordance with its ambitions to enhance sustainable agriculture.

To reduce the use of inputs, various solutions were implemented, such as insect traps or useful micro-organisms. Birds of prey were also reintroduced to hunt pests without treatment products needing to be used.

This solution was set up as part of a programme for the regeneration of natural species in collaboration with A.N.S.E (Association Naturaliste du sud-est, a nature conservation association) in 2013. Two species of birds of prey were thus reintroduced:

- Eurasian kestrels: 6 Eurasian kestrels in all were reintroduced into the production zone under the guidance of a conservation officer specialising in the reintroduction of native species of birds of prey.

- common barn owls: two common barn owls were adopted and reared for eight weeks by teams on site before being released. Nests and an aviary were constructed beforehand so that the two birds of prey could settle into their new environment.

Just as with the Eurasian kestrels, the two common barn owls were reintroduced with the expertise of a specialised conservation officer.

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