Australia: Farmers affected by catastrophic rats

Australia: Farmers affected by catastrophic rats

Equipped with a broom, Cole Ding, a farmer near Tabo, a small remote town in New South Wales, chases hundreds of rats up to a large watt and drowns them. This is the only way to prevent this disaster from hitting many farms east of the vast island-continent. But so far his efforts have been in vain. Mice continue to eat its grain and hay reserves, and they do not fail to prey on any food.

In horror videos from around the world, thousands of rats gather in sheds and houses and move in crowds at high speed.

It is the latest disaster to hit Australian farmers and wildfires in late 2019, after months of years of drought. It was followed by flooding.

“My dad is still alive, he’s 93, it’s the worst three years of his life. I think it’s probably the worst bad mouse invasion.”, Mr. Animal Husbandry. According to Ding. He fears that this atrocity will continue into the southern winter, which begins in June. “If we don’t have really cold and wet winters, I’m a little worried about what will happen in the spring.”, The 65-year-old man told AFP.

Steve Henry, a researcher at the CSIRO, a public science research center, is not overconfident. “When such an invasion of rats ends, they will disappear overnight. That is what we do not see now.” Pest expert Henry says for almost three decades.

The rats landed in Australia with the first British settlers. This little rodent adapts to the good and bad performance of Australian agriculture. So this misery happens often, but this year it has reached new heights.

“A dangerous slope”

There are numbers this year “Simply astronomy”, According to Terry Fishpool, 74, a grain farmer at NSW, Tottenham. The highest number of rodents was reported in October alone, and after a bad harvest, a severe drought, they were allowed to multiply.

Bill Batman, an associate professor at Curtin University in Western Australia, estimates that these mouse invasions only occur once a decade, but climate change may make it more common. “If we don’t have a severe winter anymore, the rats will have enough to survive all year, so it will be chronic,” he said. Courtesy M. Batman.

In the face of this tragedy, the Australian government has announced a multi-million dollar aid program and developed the powerful pesticide promethazine, which has not yet been approved by authorities. But this anti-coagulant, which acts much faster and more efficiently than the pesticides that have been spread so far, has the disadvantage of staying in the body of dead or dying rats for long periods of time. Therefore, experts fear that it will kill animals that eat poisonous rats.

“The use of this second generation rodent control product is very worrying.”, Says Batman of the School of Molecular and Life Sciences. “This is a dangerous slope” : By killing natural predators, it can poison humans through the food chain, he said. “We’re really going to get into trouble in the future not only by destroying our biodiversity, but also by destroying our defenses against future mouse invasions.”

According to Henry, the use of pesticides, traps and previously used methods will help reduce their numbers if the number of rats continues to increase after the winter. According to him, the priority is to find long-term solutions, including the causes “Big” Bitterness.

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