Small town hunts 3,000 voles a day
10 August 2007, MADRID (EFE) – Residents of a small town in north-central Spain are hunting 3,000 voles a day in an effort to stem a plague of the rodents, said the town's mayor on Friday.
10 August 2007
MADRID (EFE) – Residents of a small town in north-central Spain are hunting 3,000 voles a day in an effort to stem a plague of the rodents, said the town's mayor on Friday.
Children on their school holidays in Fresno el Viejo, near Valladolid and Salamanca, have found a new hobby – going out with sticks to kill up to 400 voles a day, Mayor Angel Navarro told a press conference.
The children's catch is added to some 2,600 voles hunted by adults in a town of just 1,200 residents.
Fresno el Viejo is part of the north-central region Castille-Leon which is facing what farmers say is a plague of voles. The rodents are eating the crops and spreading a disease called tularaemia.
Navarro said voles had even reached the district swimming pool and the cemetery.
Dozens of residents in Castile and Leon have fallen ill with tularaemia, according to daily newspaper El Pais.
Officials have recognised 88 cases of tularaemia, but farmers said there were many more. The non-fatal disease causes fever, muscle pain and fatigue that can last even longer than a month.
The disease is caused by contact with voles, which have progressively invaded the region over the last 10 months, destroying lettuce, potato and barley crops and now even vineyards.
The rodent was formerly confined to mountain areas, but fields which were brought under irrigation in the late 1970s are believed to have drawn it to the central plain in search of food.
he authorities have tried to fight the plague by destroying burrows, with the limited use of poison and with controlled fires on dry land. Farmers regard the measures as insufficient.
More than 100 hectares have been burnt in the district of El Fresno el Viejo but the measure has not rid the land of the rampant rodents which can bury underground between 20-40 centimetres.
"The fire passed above them and didn't do anything", he said.
(Copyright EFE with Expatica 2007)
Subject: Spanish news