UK scientists to start world’s biggest rat cull

The rodents currently infesting the island are stopping other small animals and birds from thriving. (Shutterstock)

To protect a sub-Antarctic island from being infested by rodents, British scientists are preparing for the world's biggest rat cull in the area, BBC reported Saturday.

The team will drop around 95 tonnes of poison from the air as part of an international effort to wipe out the Norwegian brown rat on the island.

The rodents currently infesting the island are stopping other small animals and birds from thriving.

The operation in South Georgia, considered to be the gate for Antarctica, will start next week.

The island, which is east of the Falklands, was once one of the richest seabird breeding territories in the world, but bird populations declined after rats arrived aboard sealing and whaling ships in the 19th century, according to the U.S.-based Earth Sky.

Scientists are also racing to eliminate the rats before glaciers - which are currently serving as natural barriers between the rodents and remaining bird populations - melt away.

U.N. studies show there already are more extremes of heat and rainfall and project ever more disruptions to food and water supplies. Sea levels are rising, threatening millions of people living near coasts, as ice melts from Greenland to Antarctica.

On Friday, the White House described studies, by the U.S. space agency NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as showing climate change was happening now and that action was needed to cut rising world greenhouse gas emissions.

The studies said last year was earth’s hottest on record in new evidence that people are disrupting the climate by burning fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases into the air.

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Last Update: 18:06 KSA 21:06 - GMT 18:06
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