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News in briefs, October 21, 2023

Sāo Paulo cools it

The recent heatwave in the United Kingdom and Europe disproportionately affected those living in densely populated areas. But trees help cool cities, reducing the ‘urban heat island effect’.

In Brazil’s Sāo Paulo, a programme to plant mini forests has been organised by a group called ‘formigus-de-embaúba’, an NGO working with indigenous leaders and schools. In 2022, with help from educators, almost 10,000 trees were planted by 4,000 students on public school grounds throughout the city. It is planned to implement the project in 650 public schools throughout the city, inspiring the young to take an active role in improving their environment and nurturing their native ecology.

Having a quack at pest control

Indian Runner ducks have a natural talent for targeting pests, making them a valuable addition to any garden.

They are natural foragers, and their diverse diet includes unwanted insects like snails, slugs, spiders, and mosquitoes. Their voracious appetite for insects allows them to munch on garden pests, reducing their population and minimizing potential plant damage without resorting to the use of deadly chemicals in your garden. Indian Runner ducks excel at hunting and devouring snails, which are notorious for causing damage to leaves, flowers, and delicate seedlings.

They can also make wonderful pets, having a friendly and sociable nature. They can form strong bonds with their owners and enjoy interacting with humans. And they are also known for their egg-laying abilities. It is not uncommon for a healthy Indian Runner duck to lay around 150 to 300 eggs annually. Their eggs are typically white or off-white in colour and are similar in size to chicken eggs, with a mild and delicate flavour.

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