Feeds

Galapagos islands bombed with 22 tonnes of Blue Death Cornflakes

Tortoise-scoffing rats face waves of poison gunships

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Twenty-two tonnes of cereal laced with pesticide have been dropped on the Galapagos Islands over the past week to get rid of a rat menace that has seen 10 rats pack every square meter on the island of Pinzón.

In the biggest raticide in South American history, the Ecuadorian government, working with conservation groups, has masterminded a drop of $1.8m (£1.2m) worth of large blue rat poison pellets on two Galapagos islands - Pinzon and Plaza Sur - in an attempt to purge the islets of all rodents, the Guardian reports.

Some rats tucking into anti-coagulant doom, credit Bell Labs

Rats tucking into blue cereal cubes of death, credit Bell Labs

Rats brought in by ships destroy other species by eating tortoise, iguana and bird eggs, damaging one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.

The project has to succeed completely:

"The rats cause a great deal more damage than the poison," Linda Cayot, science adviser for Galápagos Conservancy told the Guardian. "They have decimated 100% of tortoise hatchlings for the past 100 years. If we miss even one pregnant female, it won't succeed."

Restricting the damage of the huge poison dump in a sensitive bio-diverse area has been a top priority: hawks and iguanas have been evacuated from the islands. Thirty hawks from Pinzon were captured and will be kept in safe cages for two months until the after-effects of the poison have dissipated. Hawks are at risk from eating poisoned rats.

Speaking to the Reg, pesticide makers Bell Labs said they had specially formulated a Galapagos poison targeted to the unlucky rats of the island, a variation on their off-the-shelf products.

The poison is a Bromadiolone-based anti-coagulant which works on rats over a period of 1-2 weeks. It comes in the form of blue cubes that will be scattered over the island twice a day for a week by GPS-guided helicopter. The scattering started Monday. Brady Hudson, Bell Labs' UK manager explained to the Reg:

The main issue with bait [on Galapagos] is that we have make it attractive to rats but not other species; we make the bait big so birds are less likely to eat it, and in terms of the colour we also make it less attractive to birds.

Smaller-scale raticides have taken place in other Galapagos islands. And if the rat-killing is successful on Pinzon and Plaza Sur, it will be carried out on bigger islands. Some 95% of the Galapagos Islands have a rat problem. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Who wants to be there as history is made at the launch of our LOHAN space project?
Two places available in the chase plane above the desert
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.