The plague of Samar Island
A huge population of rats has infested 15 northern towns of the Samar Island in the Pacific and the main
culprit is deforestation. According to officials from the department of
environment and natural resources-Region 8 (DENR 8), destruction of forests has led to this crisis.
Manager of the Samar Island Biodiversity Project George Guillermo said conversion of forests for agricultural use has displaced rat predators like birds, snakes, reptiles and other animals. This has resulted in a rampant growth of rat population in 15 of the 24 municipalities of the island.
Guillermo points out that deforestation has also eliminated the plants the rats used to feed on. "Naturally, the rats will look elsewhere for food," he said. The department of agriculture (DA) Regional Field Unit-8 estimates that the rats have destroyed 6,300 bags of rice seedlings. This loss is alarming when one considers that 30,000 tonnes of rice could have been harvested had the seeds been planted.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.