In October of 2012, Pingtung University of Science and Technology in Taiwan got two reports that two black kites died in the red bean field, which were found a high concentration of Carbofuran their body. This was because of those black kites prey for small birds that had consumed poison bait that farmers set up to protect their agricultural products, which was first discovered by the research team from the University in 2013 (source). This case that a large population (over 3000) of poisoned dead birds was recorded in the film “Kite, Fly Kite” which was published in November of 2015.
The starting of the policies to encourage farmers to apply insecticide in their field to protect their crops was in the 1970s and 1980s when the flourish of Taiwanese agriculture. Many poisons that are harmful to especially birds and some small mammals like rats such as carbofuran and methomyl were widely used not only red bean but also rice and other products’ field located in other places in Taiwan. Relatedly, the population of black was found decline quickly since the 1980s that the population size of black kites in 1991 was 175 while the number before 1960s was described as “common” in 1976 in New Taiwan Bird Guide.
After the situation has noticed by the research team of Pingtung University of Science and Technology and the Forestry Bureau of the Taiwanese government, they reach a consensus with local farmers’ association and the support from the farmers of those red bean field that they would initiate an environmental-friendly way to grow the red beans since 2014. They buried the red bean in the soil by mechanical sowing, which effectively reduces the bird damage during the sowing period, also, they avoid using the defoliant when harvesting, so that the red bean is naturally matured. However, those farmers had to take risks themselves. It was not until this project had been supported by the chairman and general manager of PX Mart, the biggest supermarket in Taiwan nowadays, in the summer of 2015 had the situation getting better and better. PX Mart then launched a series of new dessert made by eagle red beans since the March of 2016. (Source)
Due to the effort of farmers, the research team and the public, the population size of the black kites had reached 595 in the data from Raptor Research Group of Taiwan in 2017. In the research, we can notice that there was a significant rise in population between 2015 and 2016. This result suggests that the success in the environmental-friendly farming way, however, there are still cases of poisoned black kites reported nowadays, which shows the crisis of poison is still existing.
Black Kite is an important indicator of the environment. By following the population size and distributed areas, we can have a basic understanding of whether our environment is healthy and suitable for creatures including humans to live in or not. When we are developing the technology of agriculture, an important thing we should notice about is whether the ways or the tools we are using will cause irreversible harm to other creatures or even the whole environment to make a sustainable agriculture system.