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Trapping "Gophers" in Africa

by Steve Albano on 05/28/21

Sometime back I got an email inquiry from a very enterprising farmer in Kenya by the name of Simon Kinjanjui, asking if our Gophinator trap would work for "gophers" in Kenya.  Well there are no gohers in Kenya or anywhere outside of North America, but there is a similar animal known as the East African Molerat (aka Tachyoryctes splendens) which lives in undergroud tunnels like gophers do, does the same type of damage to agricultural crops as gophers do, and also looks almost exactly like a gopher.   We had sold traps previously for use on a molerats to mamalogists in Russia and Romania, to chickory farmers in South Africa, and to a golf course builder outside of Windhoek, Namibia.  I told Simon that not only did I think our traps would work if we got the trap size right for the size of the animal, but also that I would be happy to come over to Kenya and test out our traps with him.

I met up with Simon at the farm of Mrs. Joyce in Kiambu County on the outskirts of Nairobi.  Joyce grows a variety of vegetable crops and those suffering the most from molerat damage were sweet potatos, Napier grass(a forage crop for animals), and banana trees.  Here are some pictures molerat damage to these crops:





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