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Are poison-packed drones the answer to eastern Australia's mouse plague? A Queensland farmer has been given approval to fly drones in New South Wales that drop poisoned bait to deal with a worsening mouse plague.

Are poison-packed drones the answer to eastern Australia's mouse plague?

The end of the long-running drought has been good for farmers, but brought with it mice that feed on grain spilled and left behind during harvesting. Steve Henry, a CSIRO research officer specialising in the impact of mice on the grain industry, said the mice were thriving. “You would describe it as a plague in parts of northern NSW and southern Queensland because farmers are losing their summer crops to mice,” he said. “They start breeding earlier and because there’s lots of food and shelter in the system, they continue to breed from early spring right through into the autumn.” Alan Brown, a farmer in Wagga Wagga and member of the NSW Farmers Association, said the problem was severe, particularly in irrigation and summer crop areas. “Farmers are being forced to take action to prevent the mice really doing significant damage to crops,” he said.

'You can't escape the smell': mouse plague grows to biblical proportions across eastern Australia. Drought, fire, the Covid-19 pestilence and an all-consuming plague of mice.

'You can't escape the smell': mouse plague grows to biblical proportions across eastern Australia

Rural New South Wales has faced just about every biblical challenge nature has to offer in the last few years, but now it is praying for another – an almighty flood to drown the mice in their burrows and cleanse the blighted land of the rodents. Or some very heavy rain, at least. It seems everyone in the rural towns of north-west NSW and southern Queensland has their own mouse war story. In posts online, they detail waking up to mouse droppings on their pillows or watching the ground move at night as hundreds of thousands of rodents flee from torchlight beams. Lisa Gore from Toowoomba told Guardian Australia her friend stripped the fabric of her armchair when it began to smell, only to find a nest of baby mice in the stuffing.

Army of 100,000 ducks deployed to combat locust infestation. China will send troops of ducks to Pakistan to help battle against a huge locust infestation that poses a threat to regional food security.

Army of 100,000 ducks deployed to combat locust infestation

At least 100,000 ducks will be deployed 4,827 kilometres (nearly 3,000 miles) from the eastern province of Zhejiang to Pakistan, which shares a border with the Xinjiang province. Lu Lizhi, a researcher at the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Agricultural Technology, told local newspaper The Ningbo Evening News the ducks proved to be an effective method of controlling locust infestations 20 years ago. Download the new Independent Premium app Sharing the full story, not just the headlines In 2000, a 700,000-strong army of ducks and chickens were sent to Xinjiang to gain control over swarms of locusts that devoured over 3.8 million hectares of crops and grassland.

At the time, researchers found the ducks were more efficient than chickens at guzzling down the devastating pests. Mr Lu told the newspaper: “One duck is able to eat more than 200 locusts a day. Apocalypse Africa’s Worst Locust Plague in Decades Threatens Millions. Locust Invasion. Crops under threat as billions of locusts plague Eastern Africa. Swarms of locusts ruin crops across East Africa. Infested!- Insane Mouse Plague! Roaches infest apartment complex. Apac health centre abandoned after bat infestation.

In photos: Extinction Rebellion disrupts aviation summit in Brussels. The lost cemeteries of 1917 FLANDERS FIELDS Sam Mendes’ 1917 is the latest attempt to capture the horror of the First World War on film.

In photos: Extinction Rebellion disrupts aviation summit in Brussels

Unexpectedly, it’s set in northern France, whereas most of the fighting in 1917 happened over the border in Belgium during the Battle of Passchendaele. One of the most costly military campaigns in history, it left at least 600,000 dead and achieved almost nothing. At the end of the fighting, tens of thousands of bodies lay scattered across the landscape. Some were buried in graves dug along the line of battle. Luytens proposed creating cemeteries on the battlefield grouping together a minimum of 40 graves, including graves dedicated to unidentified soldiers.

Most people visiting the battlefields focus on Tyne Cot, where the sheer scale of the killing is reflected in the endless rows of white gravestones. The small cemeteries are hardly visited at all. Some of the strangest cemeteries are hidden behind houses in small villages and towns.