Category: Vermin/ Pests


Colorado Meat Company Recalls 90,000 Pounds Of Meat

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (AP/CBS4) – A Windsor meat company has recalled some 90,000 pounds of various meat and poultry products that were produced under unsanitary conditions.The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recalls Monday. Yauk’s Specialty Meats of Windsor, Colo., recalled:

— “Colorado Best Beef” brand various fresh, smoked and shelf-stable meat products.

— “James Ranch” brand jerky and summer sausage.

— “Rocky Plains Meats” brand hams, bacon, raw and smoked sausage, jerky and raw poultry.

— “John Long Farms” brand fresh and smoked pork products.

— “Horned Beef” brand jerky.

— “Mile High Hungarian Sausage” brand fresh and smoked bacon and sausage.

The products were produced between April 1, 2013, and Dec. 5, 2013 and can be identified by four-digit Julian dates ranging between 3091 and 3339. The products were sold in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

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A team covered the island with 183 tonnes of poison to eradicate the rodent population introduced by 19th century whalers

Rat eradication project South Georgia Island

Three helicopters encountered perilous flying conditions while peppering the southern Atlantic island with 183 tonnes of the poison Brodifacoum. Photograph: Roland Gockel

A team on South Georgia have successfully completed the world’s largest rodent eradication in an effort to rid the British territory of millions of rats and mice.

Against the backdrop of an approaching Antarctic winter between February and May, three helicopters encountered perilous flying conditions while peppering the southern Atlantic island with 183 tonnes of the poison Brodifacoum. The team of 25 baited an area of 224 sq miles (580 sq km). The area targeted dwarfed the previous largest rodent eradication, on New Zealand’s Campbell Island, by five times.

The project director, Prof Tony Martin, said the team, managed by the Dundee-based South Georgia Heritage Trust, aimed to return the 104 mile (167 km) long island to the millions of seabirds wiped out by rats and mice introduced by 19th- and 20th-century whalers and sealers.

“South Georgia, before man came along, was probably the most important bird breeding island in the world. And it is no longer anything close to that,” he said. Probably less than 1% of the original population of burrowing seabirds remains, Martin said.

Many of the island’s animals remain unaffected by the rat population. Huge populations of seals and penguins attract thousands of cruise ship passengers every year.

Rat eradication bait in the reloading bag Rat eradication bait in the reloading bag. Photograph: Tony Martin/guardian.co.uk

However Martin said others, such as the endemic South Georgia pippit and South Georgia pintail, were clinging to existence “by their claws”. The storm petrel, Antarctic prion and cape petrel had been driven away from the vital breeding grounds. Every breeding season a single rat would eat hundreds of seabird chicks.

He said that returning the island’s habitat to its natural inhabitants was an act of global significance and that islands like South Georgia were particularly vulnerable to introduced predators.

“What we are doing is allowing an island to go back to the way it was before man came along and screwed it up two and a half centuries ago. Invasive animals are really crucifying the world’s biodiversity.

“What you have to bear in mind is the ecosystem of South Georgia evolved in the absence of any terrestrial mammals. So when man came along at the last second of the last hour in evolutionary terms, and introduced these little furry rodents which started to eat them, they were completely naive.”

The successful poison drops marked the second phase of a three stage project.

The first stage, which was itself equal in scale to the Campbell Island elimination, took place in 2011. The South Georgia heritage trustee Howard Pearce said it appeared this phase had been successful, lending confidence to the ongoing efforts of the team.

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

09.01.2013 Biological Hazard Australia State of Western Australia, [Penguin Island] Damage level
Details

Biological Hazard in Australia on Wednesday, 09 January, 2013 at 03:50 (03:50 AM) UTC.

Description
A plague of black rats is destroying the native wildlife population on Penguin Island, threatening to ruin one of WA’s best nature havens and ecotourism attractions. Thousands of the rats have inundated the small island 700m off Rockingham to feed on hundreds of eggs and chicks of its famous little penguin colony and other birds. Penguin Island was, as ever, an idyllic escape from the heat and bustle of the mainland yesterday but the scene belied the huge environmental threat. As families, tourists and holidaying children swam in the blue shallows and watched the penguins, birds and seals, a major offensive began to try to rid the island of its unwanted pests. Penguin Island manager David Charles said the rats were having a devastating impact on wildlife. “The bridled terns have had no chicks survive at all this year,” he said.

From our nest boxes, we’re talking about only 20 little penguin chicks that have survived. “In previous years, it’s been in the 40s and 50s.” The rat infestation is at a terrible time for WA’s biggest breeding colony of little penguins, which already faces a battle for survival. Mr Charles said the penguin population had fallen to 1200 breeding pairs from about 2000 just two years ago. Rising ocean temperatures are blamed for penguin deaths because the warmer waters drive away whitebait, their favourite food. “We’re not quite sure what we can do apart from eliminate as many of the factors that are affecting them as possible,” Mr Charles said. A dozen wildlife officers and volunteers are laying more than 270 poison bait traps over the 12.5ha island this week. Black rats were first spotted on the island a year ago. Mr Charles said a few rats were thought to have managed to cross the sandbar to the island at low tide or stowed away on a visiting boat. In just one year, the number of rats has exploded to plague proportions and thousands now roam the island. With a gestation period of just 21 days, female rats can have eight or nine litters of about six babies a year. Mr Charles said they had designed the bait traps so only rats – and not skinks and other native wildlife – could get inside and take the poison. Some secondary poisoning of birds that ate the dead rats was expected. But Mr Charles said the mass rat poisoning was necessary to save the rest of Penguin Island’s diverse wildlife.

Biohazard name: Rapid increase in population (black rats)
Biohazard level: 0/4 —
Biohazard desc.: This does not included biological hazard category.
Symptoms:
Status:

 

Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

 

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20.11.2012 Biological Hazard United Kingdom England, Henley-on-Thames Damage level
Details

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Biological Hazard in United Kingdom on Tuesday, 20 November, 2012 at 07:54 (07:54 AM) UTC.

Description
A plague of mutant “super rats” has invaded the upmarket town of Henley-on-Thames, the host of the annual Royal Regatta, a new study has disclosed. Researchers found the picturesque riverside Oxfordshire area has been inundated with dozens of the pests, which carry a poison-resistant gene. Having migrated from parts of Berkshire and Hampshire, the brown rats, and their life-threatening diseases, are spreading after being found on several unidentified farms. The survey found the rats to be living in both urban and rural areas. Experts say that despite appearing the same as their non-mutant counterparts, they are resistant to pest controls because of their genetic mutation. “All rats tend to carry various diseases,” said Dr Alan Buckle, from the University of Reading. “The reason we need to get rid of them is because they transmit diseases from themselves to humans and farm animals. “They can be life-threatening.” Dr Buckle, who led the study, added: “These anticoagulant-resistant rats carry the same diseases as other rats carry but are very difficult to control.”

The survey, funded by nine organisations involved in pest control, tested the tails of hundreds of rodents to establish where the mutant rats lived. A map was drawn indicating where the rats were found, including areas around Henley and Berkshire towns Caversham and Sonning although precise locations were not published. The team used new DNA techniques to determine the prevalence of rats with the poison-resistant gene. The rodents were found to be able to resist common forms of poison used by local authorities and professional pest controllers, farmers and gamekeepers. Dr Buckle, a research fellow, said there stronger poisons would control the super-rats but were currently illegal. “We’re not allowed to use them because the regulatory body is worried about their effects on wildlife,” he said. “My view is that we need to use the stronger poisons but we need to tell people how to use them carefully. If we can do that we can solve the problem.” Farm buildings were popular habitats because the rats could live off food for livestock. Dr Buckle said this caused the greatest concern because the rats carry illnesses such as Weil’s disease, which can be passed on to humans. It has flu-like symptoms initially but can lead to jaundice in the kidneys. He added: “If Weil’s disease is not treated it’s very serious. About 40 to 50 people in the UK catch it every year.”

Weil’s disease is a waterborne bacterial infection linked to the urine of infected rats, which killed Andy Holmes, the Olympic rowing champion in 2010. The Health and Safety Executive is currently consulting on a European Union proposal to allow limited outdoor use of certain chemicals in pest control. But animal welfare groups believe poisons, or rodenticides, are detrimental to wildlife. It is estimated that there are up to 10.5 million rats in Britain and in areas in which resistance exists almost three in four carry the rodenticideresistant gene.

Biohazard name: Rat invasion (mutated)
Biohazard level: 3/4 Hight
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

….

Henley hit by ‘mutant super rat’ invasion

A plague of mutant “super rats” has invaded the upmarket town of Henley-on-Thames, the host of the annual Royal Regatta, a new study has disclosed.

Henley hit by 'mutant super rat' invasion

Former Olympic gold medalist rower and Torchbearer Sir Steve Redgrave (5th L) carries the Olympic Flame on the River Thames in Henley on Thames. Photo: 2012 LOCOG/GETTY

Researchers found the picturesque riverside Oxfordshire area has been inundated with dozens of the pests, which carry a poison-resistant gene.

Having migrated from parts of Berkshire and Hampshire, the brown rats, and their life-threatening diseases, are spreading after being found on several unidentified farms.

The survey found the rats to be living in both urban and rural areas.

Experts say that despite appearing the same as their non-mutant counterparts, they are resistant to pest controls because of their genetic mutation.

“All rats tend to carry various diseases,” said Dr Alan Buckle, from the University of Reading.

“The reason we need to get rid of them is because they transmit diseases from themselves to humans and farm animals.

“They can be life-threatening.”

Dr Buckle, who led the study, added: “These anticoagulant-resistant rats carry the same diseases as other rats carry but are very difficult to control.”

The survey, funded by nine organisations involved in pest control, tested the tails of hundreds of rodents to establish where the mutant rats lived.

A map was drawn indicating where the rats were found, including areas around Henley and Berkshire towns Caversham and Sonning although precise locations were not published.

The team used new DNA techniques to determine the prevalence of rats with the poison-resistant gene.

The rodents were found to be able to resist common forms of poison used by local authorities and professional pest controllers, farmers and gamekeepers.

Dr Buckle, a research fellow, said there stronger poisons would control the super-rats but were currently illegal.

“We’re not allowed to use them because the regulatory body is worried about their effects on wildlife,” he said.

“My view is that we need to use the stronger poisons but we need to tell people how to use them carefully. If we can do that we can solve the problem.”

Farm buildings were popular habitats because the rats could live off food for livestock.

Dr Buckle said this caused the greatest concern because the rats carry illnesses such as Weil’s disease, which can be passed on to humans.

It has flu-like symptoms initially but can lead to jaundice in the kidneys.

He added: “If Weil’s disease is not treated it’s very serious. About 40 to 50 people in the UK catch it every year.”

Weil’s disease is a waterborne bacterial infection linked to the urine of infected rats, which killed Andy Holmes, the Olympic rowing champion in 2010.

The Health and Safety Executive is currently consulting on a European Union proposal to allow limited outdoor use of certain chemicals in pest control.

But animal welfare groups believe poisons, or rodenticides, are detrimental to wildlife.

It is estimated that there are up to 10.5 million rats in Britain and in areas in which resistance exists almost three in four carry the rodenticideresistant gene.

The study’s results will be published next year.

….

Ecuador to Kill 180 Million Galapagos Rats

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff Created

 

A marine iguana rests on a rock on the Galagagos Islands in a photo taken in 2000. On Nov. 15, the Ecuadorean government started dropping poisoned pellets on island of Pinzon in an attempt to cull 180 million rats, which eat the eggs of native species, including iguanas. (Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images)

A marine iguana rests on a rock on the Galagagos Islands in a photo taken in 2000. On Nov. 15, the Ecuadorean government started dropping poisoned pellets on island of Pinzon in an attempt to cull 180 million rats, which eat the eggs of native species, including iguanas. (Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images)

 

“It’s one of the worst problems the Galapagos have. (Rats) reproduce every three months and eat everything,” Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who is involved with the country’s Nature Conservatory and is involved in the rodent eradication process on Plaza Sur, reported The Associated Press.

The Galapagos Islands are cherished for their wide variety of unique plants and wildlife ever since they were surveyed by British naturalist Charles Darwin.

But before Darwin’s voyage, brown and black rats were introduced in the 1600s by whalers and pirates. The rats eat eggs of the Galapagos’s unique island fauna, including tortoises, snakes, iguanas, hawks, and others, according to the Galapagos Conservancy website.

Gonzalez described the “very expensive” operation against the rats as a “war,” but stressed its necessity in preserving the threatened Galapagos animals.

The island of Pinzon, which is home to the iconic giant tortoises, has the most rats, with estimates of around 180 million. According to the Conservancy’s website, Pinzon is the largest island where the rats will be culled.

The Conservancy said that in phase one of the plan, it conducted tests to determine if the poisoned pellets would harm other nontarget species.

Thirty-four hawks on Pizon were trapped to prevent them from eating the rodents that eat the pellets, AP reported. Also, around 40 iguanas were also captured.

The Galapagos Conservancy cited “recent successes” in the killing of rodents on small- or medium-sized islands for eradicating the rat problem on Pinzon.

Biological Hazard

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Just  imagine in a  truly  devastating situation  where the infrastructure was  totally  shot.  No possibility of  it  being re-established in , forget   days ,  try  weeks  or months  perhaps even  years.  To have  to  learn to live  with  these  things  crawling  around as they  please. It  being in you r hands  and your  hands alone to  control the  population.

I  don’t know about you  , but  I am  deathly  afraid of rats  and  this would be  my  nightmare   come to life….~.shudders~

*** I am a Native  New Yorker transplanted in Texas due to unforeseen circumstances.  Having grown  up in  NYC  I  know  what  these  fury  suckers look like  up close,   Let  me tell you  these  photos make them look cute  and  tiny  compared  to   what they  really  look like  in  person.   Rats  so  big  we  had  to  knock  on our  own  door before we entered   our  own  apartment  just  to let them know we  were  home.  I kid you   not!!  The  scariest  part   was  you  could hear them run  to  hide they were  so  big you  could actually  hear then  running……….Yucky, ok  I have to  stop  now  I  am  freaking myself out  with memories  …..Ack!!

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For New York rats, a question of sink or swim

by Staff Writers
New York (AFP)

 

SHAKE AND BLOW

Most rats would try to go back home once the water subsides. They are very loyal to their home territories and groups and can find their way home from quite far away.

For some, the deluge that accompanied Sandy raised fears of a “ratpocalypse,” with the city’s least glamourous residents crawling in their thousands up out of their subterranean habitats and into the streets.

Others pondered the possibility of a grim “rat soup,” imagining dozens of the rodents drowned and floating along on the tide of water that swept into the city’s subway stations.

No one knows just how many rats there are in the city, with experts at odds over the accuracy of one common estimate suggesting there is at least one rat for each of New York City’s eight million human residents.

And Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, said it was similarly difficult to predict what had happened to the rats.

“Rats tend to inhabit very low lying areas that are most subject to this intense flooding. So some rats will be killed, they’ll be drowned in the water,” he told AFP.

“But I would expect that relatively few will be killed by a flood of this nature, because as quickly as the floods can rise, the rats can rise. They can swim quite proficiently and climb and get up and out of harm’s way.”

While a rare fan of the rat, at least as a research subject, Ostfeld pointed out that the rodents can carry a slew of unsavoury ailments, including leptospirosis and salmonella.

Those rats that make it up to the surface “could pose a threat to us in new parts of the city where they haven’t been,” he warned.

In the short term, Ostfeld predicted, survivor rats will be looking for new homes, trying to get by in a new environment and reestablish a social order.

“But once these new social structures are maintained, are formed, I would expect the rats to begin breeding again,” he said.

“And if there’s a massive amount of new food as a result of the storm… that could constitute a new food resource for rats and we could see a population increase.”

But Bora Zivkovic, a behavioral biologist and editor at Scientific American, predicted the storm might well have drowned a portion of the city’s rodent dwellers.

“Rats, especially the pups, in the areas most quickly flooded, or without good easy exits to the surface, would have drowned,” he told AFP by email.

Still, those that did make it to the surface would be feasting, he added.

“Much more food will be thrown away, at all hours of day and night, and I assume that trash pickup will be temporarily erratic, thus leaving plenty of food sitting in plastic bags on sidewalks for a while.”

Despite the abundant food available to them, life won’t just be a walk in the park for the new overground arrivals, he added.

“Displaced rats will interact with local rat groups, probably in quite aggressive encounters. Those encounters will decide who is dominant, who stays and who leaves.”

And for those terrified by the prospect of street corners overrun by aggressive rodents, he had calming words.

“Most rats would try to go back home once the water subsides. They are very loyal to their home territories and groups and can find their way home from quite far away.”

He added that while breeding would quickly bring the rat population back up to pre-storm size, there was “no reason to expect it will get bigger.”

Sam Miller, assistant commissioner for public affairs at New York City’s Health and Mental Hygiene department sounded a similarly optimistic note.

“We haven’t seen an increase in rats above ground caused by Hurricane Sandy,” he told AFP, echoing Zivkovic’s theory that the flooding could reduce the rodent population by drowning young rats in burrows.

“We believe the flooding could reduce the rat population overall,” he said.

.

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Running amok: Film shows rat terrorising subway passengers as city official warns vermin scare tourists away

By Daily Mail Reporter

Vermin are running amok on New York City streets and in subway tunnels, a Manhattan city official warned today.

And as if to confirm the comments, a new video has emerged showing a rat running riot on a New York subway train.

The rat problem is so bad that it is threatening public health and driving tourists from the city, claimed Manhattan Borough president Scott Stringer.

Scroll down for video

Threat to health and tourism: Rats on a New York City street (file photo)Threat to health and tourism: Rats on a New York City street (file photo)

‘They don’t want to come here and share their vacation with a New York City rat,’ he said.

He demanded $1.5million in ‘rat control’ be restored to the city’s Health Department budget.

The cut, he said, had forced the layoff of 57 pest control workers. That resulted in a spike of 1.5 per cent in complaints over the last year and damage to New York’s appeal as a tourist destination.

And, he said, the rampaging rodents are also a threat to public safety.

‘I find this to be unacceptable because rodents are very dangerous to children and the quality of life of the city,’ Stringer said.

He said the cut ‘makes no sense’ as the city’s pest control programme was collecting around $6million in fines each year from building owners for pest-related health violations.

Running: Terrified passengers raise their feet as a rogue rat runs through a subway carRunning: Terrified passengers raise their feet as a rogue rat runs through a subway car

Horror: Subway rider awakes to find the rodent inches from his faceHorror: YouTube video which emerged in January shows a New York subway rider awakening to find a rat inches from his face

‘Why would you make cuts to a programme that actually makes money for the city?’ Stringer said.

Unless the cuts are restored and the pest control force fortified, the rat control problem is only going to get worse, he said.

City health spokeswoman Susan Craig said the layoffs have ‘had no impact on the agency’s ability to respond to rat complaints’.

The city has adapted to the cuts by doing more comprehensive pest control sweeps of neighborhoods as opposed to responding to individual complaints, she said.

‘Our new approach has allowed us to become better at discovering rat problems, better at notifying landlords about infestations and better at getting properties near each other to treat rat problems simultaneously,’ she said.

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