Barn Owls are a huge consumer of rodents. At the same time, certain regions experience population peaks of small mammals that create real problems for farmers who find their crops devastated. Often, growers have no choice but to disperse tons of pesticides over their fields. Installing Barn Owl nestboxes directly in the fields invites these raptors to the area, who can then replace rodenticides.
In the Middle East, Barn Owl nestboxes have been progressively installed on both sides of different borders since 2002. This Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian project offers a basis of uniting populations in conflict around a shared and neutral environmental problem. Protecting nature, source of food and well-being, is essential for everyone involved in a conflict. Therefore, this type of project can be a first lever toward reconciliation. This initiative makes it possible to re-establish a dialogue and mutual trust between the communities, all while protecting the environment. Just like local actors, both national and international actors - like the University of Lausanne - become involved.
Bringing strong symbols to life. Some owls nest in Israel and primarily hunt their prey within the Palestinian Authority, crossing human borders daily. There are even Israeli-Jordanian nesting pairs! Farmers and schoolchildren from different communities are involved in this project, meeting one another, and becoming aware of the importance of their shared natural heritage. Leaving behind their bad luck image, Barn Owls become ambassadors for peace!
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