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Bali's Rodent Invasion Widens

Rats and Birds Continue to Play Havoc on Lives of Bali's Farmers.

(8/18/2009) As reported on balidiscovery.com, farmers in a number of areas of Bali are losing valuable crops due to a sudden upsurge in rat populations laying once productive agricultural lands virtually bare. [See: An Island in Need of a Pied Piper]

Despite widespread rodent elimination programs, including the recent sacred cremation of 112,670 rats in a special ceremony in Tabanan, the Bali Post reports that the plague of rodents continues to worsen, complicated further by the reported increase of the number of marauding birds attacking rice crops that have managed to evade rodent attacks.

The villages of Antosari, Selemadeg Barat in Tabanan has seen 35 hectares of rice fields laid waste after rodent attacks, with farmers claiming their entire crops has been destroyed by rats and predatory birds. Some farmers have experienced failure of two entire crop rotations, making the feeding and care of their families problematic.

Efforts to curb rodent infestation using poisons have proven ineffective in securing the local rice crop.

The Chief of the Tabanan Agriculture and Horticulture Department, I Gede Made Sukawijaya, acknowledged widespread crop destruction in several areas of his regency, saying he hope measures to control the rodent population would soon yield results.

The mass culling and cremation of rats in Tabanan on July 17, 2009 at a cost of Rp. 250 million (US$25,000) and subsequent hunting expeditions to destroy rats has had mixed results, with some areas of Tabanan reporting improvement in harvests while other farms claiming to have been little aided in their efforts to conserve their crops.