FAQ

Why eradicate rats and mice now?

Current efforts to control rodent populations include the use of lethal chemical agents, also referred to as rodenticides, the sale of which constituted a $900 million market worldwide in 2013. Rodenticides, however, have a number of serious shortcomings: Rodenticides are not a long-term solution— the initial decline in rodent population exposed to rodenticides is typically followed by a ”population rebound” as the surviving rodents quickly reproduce, rodents from surrounding areas migrate in, and many rodent populations return to their original size within six to nine months.

  • Rodenticides have an ineffective delivery method — due to their understanding of cause and effect, rodents will generally not consume food that they have seen adversely affect other rodents nor will they select poor-tasting rodenticides over other food sources.
  • Rodenticides are unsafe — rodenticides contain lethal chemicals that can be toxic to humans and other animals, which has resulted in the EPA and similar authorities in other jurisdictions placing restrictions on the sale and use of rodenticides.
  • Rodenticides are harmful to the environment — the poisons in rodenticides can accumulate in the bodies of rodents, transfer to other animals and contaminate the area where the rodent dies.
  • Rodenticides are inhumane — lethal chemicals gradually culminate in the death of the rodent exposed to rodenticides over five to ten days, marked by extreme discomfort and pain.
  • Damaging public infrastructure — rodents cause significant damage to public infrastructure, estimated by researchers at the National Wildlife Research Center in 2007 at over $27.0 billion in the U.S. alone on an annual basis.
  • Transmitting disease — rodents transmit disease and deadly pathogens to humans and other species.

Is it safe for humans?

Brodifacoum poisoning is not human friendly and occurs as a result of ingestion of rodenticide compounds. It acts as a superwarfarin, inhibiting vitamin K epoxide reductase, in an irreversible fashion much like warfarin but with a much longer half-life. Acute clinical effects depend on the site of hemorrhage and include hemoptysis, hematuria, GI bleeding, abdominal or back pain (retroperitoneal hemorrhage), hemarthrosis, epistaxis, cerebrovascular accidents, and multiple ecchymotic lesions.

Brodifacoum may be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and respiratory system.  The major route of elimination in different species, after oral administration, is through the faeces. The urine is a very minor route of elimination.  The liver is the major organ for the accumulation and storage of brodifacoum, which has mainly been found as the unchanged parent compound.  Its elimination from the liver is slow.

What about the water and soil?

New Zealand eradications in a fenced reserve at Maungatautari and on the offshore islands Little Barrier, Rangitoto and Motutapu. Residual concentrations were present in soil samples from underneath degrading bait pellets  100 days after application.

What is the impact on birds and wildlife?

Gudeconcha sophiae magnifica CR Rare at high altitudes. Largely unprotected from rodent predation due to inaccessibility of its range. Trend unknown. Continuing decline as rodent control is not practicable throughout most of its extant range. Susceptibility unknown. High risk category. Impact of baiting needs further study to better understand possible impact of the program.

Commonly used anticoagulant rodenticides, however, can take a terrible toll on wildlife: through directly contact in grass or foraging amongst the soil. Birds which take animals affected by these poisons can suffer from secondary poisoning, which causes internal hemorrhaging and a slow, painful death.

Baits containing anticoagulants like Warfarin and Bromadioline or Brodifacoum take three to ten days to kill the animal by way of internal bleeding, and during this time, the affected rat or mouse may be taken by a bird of prey, a domestic cat or a dog. Depending on the number of animals preyed upon, the predator then becomes ill, begins to bleed internally from its liver, and unless urgent veterinary attention is provided, may die. Many of our magnificent native raptors and owls suffer this horrible fate every year.

Why do aerial baiting, why not do the whole island with bait stations?

For 100 years bait stations were effective. Is it that native man has become lazy? Lord Howe Island had Mr LHI competitions every year and the real men of the Island climbed trees such as the Kentia but also the Pine trees to not only prove their worthiness to the ladies but also to earn a keeping. But neglecting that to a new administration with no background of Island history (10 year Islanders) who now how found control. It seems they deem not only to pollute the Island with non-essential seeds but now destroy it with poison.

How will you get the rodents off the sides of the mountains especially where there are cliffs and caves?

If you drop 42 or 420 tons of poison anywhere how would you expect it to penetrate the sides of the mountains, caves or cliffs? It won’t. However, a sterilised rodent could get there and deliver sex without reproduction. Thus without killing, ultimately reducing rodents out of existence.

What about bait getting into the sea?

Brodifacoum is stable not soluble in water and is lethal to just about all aquatic life. From the fish to the dolphins, penguins and seals that feed on them. It will also affect people, a problem that US-based Island Watch Conservation Science discovered from material obtained from US Fish and Wildlife Service under a freedom of information request. They found that fish taken from round Wake Island, site of an unsuccessful eradication program, were unfit for human consumption for around 942 days (nearly three years) after the brodifacoum poisoning.

How much poison?

42 tons first drop proposed this winter then 100 days later a replanned drop and then another. Another till only cockroaches live on the Island lol. Who knows????

Is there a danger from dust?

Winds will carry (Brodifacoum) poison pellets from cliffs, mountain tops into the ocean and surrounding grasslands.

What about water tanks?

Aerial drops of Brodifacoum may and will land on roofs. Mountain run-off water will find its way down to not only human water tanks but also all wildlife drinking catchments.

Caring for our rivers, dams and groundwater environments helps ensure healthy catchments and provides our community with:

  • clean drinking water
  • natural areas for recreation
  • habitat for plants and animals
  • healthy vegetation and waterways
  • reliable and clean water for stock and irrigation
  • opportunities for sustainable agriculture and industry

What about my veggie garden?

Brodifacoum aerial drops will land on crops, grass area’s and all agriculture even if it is only the winds that carry it there. High terrain water flow will deliver the poison down to lower terrain establishments.

How will the eradication affect our World Heritage Status?

Rodent Eradication on Lord Howe Island (world heritage listed) destination like other world wonders would ultimately effect the status of that listing but also how we as Australians conduct our intentions to maintain biodiversity on isolated Islands for the sake of all life.

Why are islands so important for biodiversity?

Plant and animal species in an environment living in equilibrium won’t co-exist if poisoned. Secondary poison will transfer from one species to another.