Feeds

University rats on Sydney suburb

Rodent reintroduction reverses ratbags' rampage

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Mosman Council in Sydney, along with Sydney University and Taronga Zoo, hopes to drive out rats with more rats.

The native “bush rat” – Rattus fuscipes to scientists, the Bogul rat to its friends – is being reintroduced to bushland areas in the harbourside suburb, in the hope that it will displace a pest that arrived with Australia’s first Europeans.

While the native rat is still common away from the city, it hasn’t been seen close to Sydney’s centre for more than a hundred years.

The council and the university hope that locals will find the Bogul a better neighbour than the black rat. It’s not a home-invader, it doesn’t climb trees (meaning that native birds don’t find their nests raided), it doesn’t drive out native species such as the mouse-like marsupial antechinus, it doesn’t carry human or pet diseases (while plague hasn’t been observed in Australia for a long time, lungworm is a contemporary danger), and it doesn’t dress in balaclavas and plant extortion threats like other Mosman invaders.

Researcher Dr Grainne Cleary with a native Bogul rat. Image: University of Sydney

It’s quite likely that the black rats’ role as a disease carrier helped drive the Bogul out of Sydney.

During an outbreak of plague at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century, a bounty – equivalent to around $AU4 per rat in today’s currency – was offered to rat-catchers, and since they probably couldn’t tell the difference between the two species, both were swept up by the “ratbags” (rat-baggers).

Sydney University ecologist and team leader Peter Banks notes on the project Website that the last sighting of a Bogul rat in Sydney was the year after the plague was contained.

The researchers and Mosman Council hope to avoid confusion by pointing out the differences between the two rats – the native rat has a shorter tail and a less-pointed face.

In earlier research at Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast, researchers cleared black rats from bushland and observed the Boguls moving back in. The results were encouraging, with the natives still maintaining strong populations five years later.

Other project sponsors include the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and Rentokil. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?