Local perception of rodent-associated problems

Urban Ecosyst (2014) 17:573–584
DOI 10.1007/s11252-013-0336-x
  © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Local perception of rodent-associated problems in Sahelian urban areas: a survey in Niamey, Niger

Madougou Garba1,2,3, Mamadou Kane4, Sama Gagare1, Ibrahima Kadaoure5, Ramatou Sidikou2, Jean-Pierre Rossi,6, Gauthier Dobigny7

1Centre Régional Agrhymet, Département Formation Recherche, BP 1011, Niamey, Niger
2Faculté des Sciences, Université Abdou Moumouni, BP 10662, Niamey, Niger
3Direction Générale de la Protection des Végétaux, Ministère de l’Agriculture, BP 323, Niamey, Niger
4Centre de Biologie pour la Gestion des Populations (CBGP, UMR IRD-INRA-Cirad-SupAgro Montpellier), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Campus ISRA-IRD de Dakar-Bel-Air, BP 1386, Dakar, CP 18524, Senegal
5Centre Régional Agrhymet FewsNet, BP1011, Niamey, Niger
6Institut National de Recherche Agronomique, CBGP, Campus International de Baillarguet CS30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez, France
7IRD, CBGP, Campus International de Baillarguet CS30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez, France

Abstract. Rodents are involved in the epidemiology of many pathogens and are major pests for agriculture. Local perception and beliefs about rodents and their damages is a key element of control programs. We here present the first survey focusing on the human perception of rodent-associated problems in an African town, namely Niamey, Niger. In total, 170 interviews were conducted in 18 different urban districts where rodents (Mastomys natalensis, Rattus rattus and Mus musculus) are widespread and abundant. Rodentassociated problems were mentioned in almost all instances (96.5 %). Eight different categories of rodent-induced nuisances could be recurrently identified. The most frequently cited one consists in damages on food and food stocks (63.1 %), followed by damages on houses (47.3 %), furniture (19.5 %) and clothes (16.8 %). There was no significant association between damages and districts, which means that the perception of rodent associated problems did not vary significantly across the city. Our survey strongly suggests that rodents may represent major pests not only for farmers, but also for inhabitants of towns, thus contributing to reinforce economic vulnerability. Finally, no mention of sanitary or medical problems was ever recorded during our survey, thus pointing towards an apparent absence of knowledge about the potential role of rodents in some public health issues.

Keywords: Pest rodents, Food security, Public health, West Africa, Sahelian area

*Corresponding author: gauthier.dobigny@ird.fr

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