Biological control using owls

Pearl Valley

South Africa

Written by: simon Allen

On Pearl Valley Golf Course, Cape Gerbil, Cape Dune, and Common Molerat could, if the numbers were allowed to increase, quickly become a problem. While poisons could be used to control them, this method creates an ecological knock-on effect. By using their natural predators, rodent numbers can economically and effectively be kept in check, and as the rodent species mentioned are nocturnal, the logical answer are owls. Locally the Barn Owl and Spotted Eagle Owls are the most common species.

For owls to become permanently resident in an eco-system they need a food source and suitable day roosts and breeding sites. In association with a local raptor rehabilitation facility Pearl Valley is used as a release site for rehabilitated owls, to ensure these owls remain resident, owl boxes have been erected to create nesting sites. The success of this program can be measured by the limited problems that rodents cause on the course.

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