Spain takes a whack at rodent plague

14th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

14 August 2007 , MADRID - What's a country to do with a plague of crop-munching rodents? Spain’s Castille-Leon region has such an infestation. Ideas abound on how to quell it: Burn them. Drown them. Squish them with a rolling pin attached to a plough.

14 August 2007

MADRID - What's a country to do with a plague of crop-munching rodents? Spain’s Castille-Leon region has such an infestation. Ideas abound on how to quell it: Burn them. Drown them. Squish them with a rolling pin attached to a plough.

Then there's this high-tech solution from a government veterinarian: Zap the mouse-like voles with ultrasound, using a cross between the Pied Piper ploy and a military pincer movement to herd them together for a collective death by either water or fire.

The government of Castille-Leon, a northern region that is one of Spain‘s agricultural heartlands, began burning already-harvested farmland last week to try to wipe out an invasion that has become a nightmare.

Jose Carlos Pinero, a veterinarian with the Castille-Leon regional health department and proponent of the ultrasound idea, said Tuesday that scientists believe there may be 700 million of the pests. And they stink.

"The other day I was driving along the highway and the smell was overpowering," he said from Valladolid, the regional capital.

Grains have been devastated. The voles are now turning to summer crops like potatoes, grapes and beets.

The government says it is flummoxed as to what is causing the infestation, although Pinero blames it on a mild winter - freezing temperatures kill off many voles - and an abundance of spring rain that led to bountiful harvests and a rodent feast.

Everyone seems to have a different idea of what should be done.

Pablo Villar, mayor of Villalar de los Comuneros, tied a huge iron tube to the back of a plough. The idea was to uncover the voles' hideouts, then crush them with the roller.

"The roller did not kill as many animals as we thought it would," he said in a telephone interview, adding he will try again with a heavier roller.

(Copyright AP with Expatica)

                                          Subject: Spanish News

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