Rats on a plane!!

imagesAir travel is a booming industry. With the advent of affordable fares it has become the new luxury that the middle and upper middle class can now afford. Another species which is making the most of the affordable air travel is the rodents!! Contrary to popular belief they are making these huge carriers their home. In the recent years there have been numerable incidents of rodent sightings on planes domestic as well as international. So why do these creatures want to be air borne? The primary reason for this is food. Rodents are constantly gnawing creatures they are always searching for new food sources and also shelter in case of cold weather.

There are generally four ways in which rodents enter in an airplane-the airports, jet ways, food carts or food vending companies, and cargo. Also since the carrier is a confined space they have no means of getting out once they are in. Rodents and rats in particular can cause damage of a serious nature. Rats consume and contaminate food, damage containers and packaging, also damage wiring. They also spread parasites and disease to other animals, and in some cases to humans. Once they enter into the aircraft they are hard to detect because of all the nooks and corners that they have to hide in.

finalRats have been the cause of great financial losses to various airlines. There have been numerable incidences wherein flights were delayed or even cancelled owing to rodent spotting. An incident was reported on 18th March, 2011 where a plane enroute Paphos was grounded due to presence of a rat in the cockpit. The pilot feared that the rat might chew on some wire thus endangering the safety of all the passengers aboard. The flight was grounded and a thorough inspection was done to rat out the rat before the plane could resume its journey. Many airlines have a safety measure in place where built-in alarm system   is present so that any break in the wires would set off a flashing light alert and the plane would be diverted to the nearest airport for landing.

wire3Another incident which came to light was in June, 2011 when five baby rats were found in a Quantas flight which forced an emergency landing. Flight attendants discovered the five rodents in a storage compartment just before the passengers were due to embark on the Brisbane-bound flight at Sydney. Engineers who inspected the aircraft deemed no damage had been done. Rats are proving to be a cause of grief for these airlines in more than one way as reported in AOI. Qantas is facing a lawsuit after one of the airline’s Platinum customers claims rats chewed through the wiring of his Aston Martin which he had sent for valet parking at the airport.

Another incident which came to light in August, 2011 was that of an SAS flight which was grounded at Stockholm as a rat was found mischievously scurrying the flight floor. All the 250 passengers were stranded and they had to rebook a separate flight. Airports resorted to using smoke to force the mouse out of the plane, but were not successful doing the same. These rats pose a safety as well as a health hazard as there have been incidences of rat droppings being discovered on plane. One such incident was recorded on the Delta Airlines flight. FDA investigators say they found “rodent excreta pellets” in some Delta planes. The primary areas of occurrence were in ceiling panels and places of food preparation and storage. The presence of these droppings so near the food storage area was alarming as the chances of a contamination occurring became very high. To comply with FDA regulations, all places where food is prepared, served, or stored including airline cabins must be kept free of flies, rodents, and other vermin.

The conventional methods being used to tackle this new threat are pest control using rodenticides. But these have been largely unsuccessful as cases such as mentioned above have been on the rise over the past few years. A rat once inside a plane can cause a great deal of damage in terms of life and money. A better way would be to devise such a strategy which ensures that the rats don’t gain access to the carrier.Rodrepel offers such a solution as it is non-toxic, aversive rodent repellant. It is available in paint or lacquer formulation which can be applied on the surface to be protected. Moreover it has very low leachability and very low vapor pressure and thus can’t leach out of the application or vaporize.

 

Feral pigs attack Europe!!

images (12)Wild boars are native across much of Northern and Central Europe. The first wild pigs in the United States originated solely from domestic stock brought to North America by early European explorers and settlers. Many years later, Eurasian wild boar were introduced into parts of the United States for hunting purposes. Feral pigs are a huge nuisance all over the European continent. They cause millions of dollars in damage as they attack agricultural fields, lawns and gardens. They uproot trees from their bases, dig through land and create huge craters rendering the land useless for any useful activity in the future.

There have been numerous reports of the damage inflicted by this invasive animal in all fields. The feral pig menace is an old one, hounding the European Union since the 1990’s. An incident was reported by The Independent, a newspaper in U.K on 28th June, 1997; that feral pigs were breeding at an alarming rate, their rate unhindered due to lack of a known natural predator. The article further went on to say that the pigs were also responsible for damaging crops, attacking humans and spreading diseases amongst livestock.

In yet another incident, a popular newspaper inimages (1) Europe reported on 25th November, 2009 that Europe was at war with wild pigs. The main reason for a surge in the population of wild pigs was attributed to climate change. The population had been on a rise in Germany specifically owing to radical human changes like change in agricultural land use, etc as was reported. The article further went on to state that humans had become targets for the pigs with many pigs attacking joggers, invading homes and tossing around furniture, etc. The article further went on to compare the pre-existing and the current populations of these feral pigs in various countries like France, Spain, Germany, Poland, etc. The article summarized that the feral pig population was on a steady increase all over Europe. Also a change in agricultural patterns in certain countries which resulted in increased growth of certain pig favorable crops played a major role in boosting their population; the article concluded.

The rendezvous of wild pigs with humans was demonstrated when a French woman had to be rescued via helicopter from wild pigs in France. This incident was reported by The Telegraph on 8th December, 2010. The article stated that young French woman had to be rescued from a tree on which she sought refuge to get away from a herd of wild pigs while strolling in a valley. The young woman was scandalized beyond doubt as she was stuck there for 6 long tedious hours fearing an attack least she fell down.

Now let us see the following article:

Boar wars: wild pigs are running riot through Europe’s towns and forests

From Fred Bridgland in Panzano, Italy

Sunday 14 November 2010

 

Two decades ago Tuscany’s boar population was almost hunted to extinction but then wild boar began migrating into northern Italy from the Balkans. Now about 150,000 boars roam the Tuscan hills and valleys once more.

Hunters cull about 30,000 animals each year, but barely make a dent on the overall population figure – female boars are ready to breed from the age of nine months and give birth to up to 13 piglets twice a year.

The exploding wild boar population is a phenomenon across most of Europe, and while conservationists welcome the population boom others with itchy trigger fingers want to bring the numbers tumbling down.

In Germany, where about 2.5 million boar roam the country’s forests and maize fields and even its urban gardens, barely a week passes without a newspaper reporting a human-boar encounter. Typical stories involve joggers getting chased into tree tops, boars smashing their way into houses and herds of the animals – weighing up to 200kg apiece – rampaging through village streets.

German hunters kill about 450,000 boars a year. In France, the figure is half a million. In Poland, the best guess is 200,000. Boar numbers are also on the increase in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and throughout eastern Europe and Russia.

Zoologists believe that warmer winters have reduced the death rates of older boars and of young ones born late in the year. They also argue that a rise in carbon dioxide levels has intensified sunlight and resulted in trees producing more acorns and chestnuts – high-energy snacks for boars, whose reproduction abilities increase with the amount of food available.

Boars in Europe are partial to maize and rapeseed, both of which are grown in large quantities for animal feed and biofuel. And one-fifth of Germany is covered in forest, the perfect habitat.

It is no surprise boars are doing so well. They are intelligent and adaptable, happy to eat discarded pizzas if maize and acorns aren’t available. Despite their weight, they can run at more than 30 miles per hour over short distances and are excellent swimmers.

Torsten Reinwald, a wild boar expert with the German Hunting Federation, said: “They have a well-organised social structure, and if the lead sow senses danger they all follow her. When they smell after-shave lotion or hear car doors slamming they immediately retreat from the hunting zone and hide in reeds until danger has passed.”

While farmers rant about their crops being plundered, the animals also cause about 25,000 traffic accidents each year.

An invasion of cities is also causing concern – Berlin has a wild boar population estimated at between 8000 and 10,000 and whole families of boar are often seen trotting through the streets of the Italian city of Genoa.

“People make it worse by feeding them,” Reinwald said. “In Berlin, buses avoid some stops because boars hang around begging, because people have decided to put out maize for them.”

The above article goes further to shed light on the alarming rate at which the feral pig population is growing all across Europe.

download (6)Damage from wild pigs is nothing new, and wherever wild pigs are present, they inevitably become a problem. Feral pigs can damage agricultural crops by eating or trampling them. They can also damage crops while rooting and wallowing, which damages plant roots, creates holes and ruts that can damage farm equipment and endanger operators. Wild hogs may occasionally prey on livestock, especially newborn lambs, goats or calves; when this happens, they are usually attracted to birthing grounds by the scent of afterbirth or fetal tissue. Acorns, hickory nuts, beechnuts, and other hard mast are a major food source for wild boars, leaving very few to grow into new trees in areas with high pig populations. Wild pigs use saplings and even mature trees of both pines and hardwoods as scratching and scent marking posts,  thus damaging them. The intense rubbing can damage bark layers, leaving the tree susceptible to harmful insects and pathogens.

Thus the damage caused by these wild pigs is a manifold one and it needs to be stemmed before it becomes uncontrollable. The best way of going about it would be to prevent the damage from occurring, that is finding a way of keeping these savage beasts away from our property and fields. Rodrepel®™ a product by C Tech Corporation can prove to be of use to combat the feral pig menace. Rodrepel®™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous rodent and animal repellent which works by the mechanism of repellence. It acts on the olfactory sense of the target species and repels them from the application that needs to be protected. This product is available in the form of polymer additive masterbatches which can be incorporated in agricultural films, micro-irrigation pipes, etc during processing so that the end product will be able to successfully repel the target species. Rodrepel™ can also be used in the automobile sector as it is available in the form of lacquer which can be applied in the form of coating on the cars or can be incorporated in the plastic body part of the car during processing. It can also be applied on fences and compounds to deter feral pigs from going there and causing damage. Thus Rodrepel™ can go a long way in limiting damage caused by this extremely filthy and wild creature.

 

 

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