By protecting biodiversity we protect ourselves too

By protecting biodiversity we protect ourselves too

17 March 2020

This scientific article, which you can read at the link below, comes directly from our work on the Ponziane Islands, and highlights two very important aspects: the careful planning we did before the intervention and the great benefit of our work for local populations.

The article reports the results of the lab analyses carried out on rats of the Ponziane Islands before eradication, showing that none of them had any resistance to rodenticides. This allowed us to operate using “milder” rodenticides, safeguarding even more the non-target species and domestic animals, which in fact had no consequence from eradication.

Furthermore, genetic analyses showed  that the source of rats present on the Islands of Ventotene and Palmarola is the Island of Ponza, from where, probably in the past centuries, originated the rats that gave origin to the current populations of both islands. In comparison, the flow of rats from the mainland seems less important. This gives us important indications on how to defend the islands from re-invasion, encouraging us to carry out targeted actions in ports and landing points.

Finally, the article documents the presence of several pathogens in the captured rats. It is well known how these animals are a danger to public health, and the work proves the importance of their removal also in this perspective. Therefore, besides the benefits for species and habitats, the project allowed to significantly improve the living conditions of the communities living on the islands, reducing the risk associated with the zoonoses carried by rats.

At a time when humanity is subject to a global threat, consisting in a zoonosis, it seems even more important to us to underline the achievement of this important goal.