Thursday, 6 September 2007

Rat in the Kitchen? Bring in the eagles and foxes

Never one to miss out on the chance of completing a circle there is news today on how China intends to solve the invasion of China by 2 million rats (mice really but it does not make for such a good strap line).

The original post on this blog was:

There's a rat in the kitchen, what am I going to do?

In a solution that reminds me of the "old lady who swallowed a fly" nursery story we find that China has unleashed the eagles and foxes.

Of course, the natural question to ask is what to unleash on the foxes once they get out of control and start eating other livestock (and children)? Wolves perhaps or will hunger and guns be sufficient?

China battles rat plague with foxes and eagles [Scotsman]
BEIJING (Reuters) - Authorities in far western China have gone into battle against a plague of rodents by using "hot-shot" eagles and foxes, state media reported on Thursday.

For much of this year, grazing land in parts of Xinjiang province have been overwhelmed by growing numbers of rats and other rodents gobbling up grass and forcing out sheep, Xinhua news agency reported.

Now officials there think they have found a green answer -- eagles attracted by nesting stands and foxes unleashed on the armies of rats.

"Using these natural predators to kill the rodents is not only inexpensive, it can sustainably control rodent plagues and there's not environmental pollution," the report said.

Up to now, rat control around the grasslands has depended on scattering poison, and around hard-hit areas this year authorities used airplanes to do the job.

"The results have not been ideal," the report said,

Now across northern Xinjiang over a thousand eagle nests and stands have been erected, and authorities released 200 foxes bred in captivity to chomp through the rats, Xinhua said.

In one county, the number of rodent holes has dropped by 70 percent since the foxes were unleashed, it said.

Around half of restive Xinjiang's population are Uighur, an overwhelmingly Muslim Turkic ethnic group, or belong to other non-Han groups that traditionally lived off herding and trading.

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