Australia’s New South Wales and Queensland states are being threatened by a mouse plague.
Over the past month, millions of mice have wreaked havoc on the eastern parts of the country, swarming schools, homes and hospitals while leaving Australia’s $51 billion agriculture industry in turmoil.
“We’re at a critical point now where if we don’t significantly reduce the number of mice that are in plague proportions by spring, we are facing an absolute economic and social crisis in rural and regional New South Wales,” Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said this month.
Making matters worse, the mice are beginning to eat each other.
“When they run out of food, when they run out of seeds to eat, they start cannibalizing, they start eating each other,” Xavier Martin, the vice president of the New South Wales Farmers’ Association, told ITV News.
To combat the problem, New South Wales’ state government has ordered 5,000 liters (1,320 gallons) of the banned poison Bromadiolone from India, the Associated Press reports.
The federal government regulator has yet to approve emergency applications to use the poison on the perimeters of crops that are infested with the rodents. Some people fear the poison will kill not only mice but also animals that feed on them.
“We’re having to go down this path because we need something that is super strength, the equivalent of napalm to just blast these mice into oblivion,” Marshall said.