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Using Technology to Curb a Locust Swarm

In Kenya, the Food and Agriculture Organization has teamed up with the company 51 Degrees, which specializes in managing protected areas, and has rejigged software developed for tracking everything from poaching to injured wildlife or illegal logging, to hunt locust swarms. A hotline takes calls from village chiefs or some of the 3,000 trained scouts, and aircraft are dispatched. Data on the size of the swarms and direction of travel are shared with the pilots as well as governments and organisations battling the invasion in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. The locusts first infested the east and Horn of Africa in mid-2019, eventually invading nine countries as the region experienced one of its wettest rainy seasons in decades. Some countries like Kenya had not seen the pest in up to 70 years.