Continent Australia was separated from the ancient southern land 39 million years ago. Unlike other continents, Australia has no “chance” to encounter and “jostle” with other continents, so the high mountains become a rather scarce “resource” here. Although there are fewer mountains, fewer rivers and more deserts than elsewhere, that doesn’t mean it’s an undesirable continent, despite its harsh inland environment.
Most of the population of this continent lives in coastal cities, in addition, this continent also possesses a lot of animals quite “stupid”, they coexist with humans in a very natural way. You can absolutely see koalas sleeping on trees on the roadside, or you can catch macaws perched on power lines on both sides of the road, or kangaroos lying indifferently in the sun in the backyard of an apartment. …
You can see a lot of animals naturally living and walking in the middle of Australia’s settlement. Perhaps without saying too much, we can also encounter images of kangaroos fighting with humans or short-tailed dwarf kangaroos as “selfie masters” with images flooding the internet.
And surely there are a lot of people who think that the animals in Australia are very cute and somewhat “stupid”. In fact, this is because Australia’s ecological environment does not have too much competition for survival and no primates exist outside of Australia’s native natural life. There are not many large carnivores here and humans are just “imported” to this continent, so most of the animals here are quite innocent and fearless.
And it is for these reasons that Australia is also the place where alien species invade the most, the less indigenous animals are competitive, the easier it is for exotic species to survive. The organisms at the end of the food chain such as rats, carp and rabbits seem harmless elsewhere, and when they arrive in Australia, they can “make rain”. Especially rabbits, which are considered to be very cute and somewhat weak animals, in the eyes of Australia, this animal looks like a tiger and a lion.
It all started in the 18th century, when Australia was still a British colony. When the British arrived in Australia, a place with a large area and sparsely populated, they simply viewed Australia as their backyard. When their country needs wool for the textile industry, they bring sheep to Australia for grazing, when they need raw materials to make dye, they bring aphids here and raise them on cacti.
At that time, British colonists needed an insect called cochineal to make the red dye, and this insect parasized on cacti. After being brought to Australia, this insect has grown rapidly and harms the flora and threatens local insects. To prevent invasive expansion of this species, one had to import a cactus caterpillar. Fortunately, the cactus caterpillar didn’t turn out to be the next disaster.
But with rabbits, they were truly a hedonistic disaster and almost destroyed the ecology of this continent. After coming to Australia, this animal has grown very quickly, their number sometimes reached more than 10 billion. At the beginning, an English farmer named Austin arrived in Australia, he had just arrived 24 European rabbits and 5 hares with the aim of releasing them into the wild and hopefully next year, Austin and one Few older men can indulge their hunting passions on Australia’s vast steppe.
But no one would have expected that the reproductive performance of rabbits was maximized in Australia. This place is simply a rabbit’s paradise: there are no eagles, foxes, wolves, plains and meadows everywhere with wide views, loose soil, convenient for burrowing.
There is a difference between the European rabbit and the hares, the hares usually lay 3 to 4 litters a year, with 5 or 6 babies per litter. But European rabbits can lay all year round with 2 to 7 cubs per litter, and newborn rabbits can become sexually mature in as little as 8 months, and their pregnancy takes about 30 days.
The rabbits quickly spread from the hunting grounds in Austin to all parts of the continent. They began to grow and gradually spread throughout the lands east, west, south and north. In just 66 years, their population skyrocketed to 10 billion. Rabbits have “frantically” invaded all the living spaces of indigenous animals such as small rats and they are even the main cause of the extinction of many local animals.
For 66 years, the Australian ecosystem has been largely defenseless against rabbit invaders. They feed on bark, young leaves, and burrow deep to eat roots. Most of the plants here could not survive because of this terrible destruction. In addition, rabbits love to live in caves, they dig a lot of underground caves, and the intricacy of their caves has resulted in the destruction of a variety of pastures and farms. Cattle and sheep are continually trapped in sinkholes coming from rabbit caves, and agricultural farming is also almost impossible to facilitate. To deal with rabbits, the Australian government has devised a lot of measures, they have tried to hunt, net, cover, attack with gas and poisoned carrots. But all these efforts seem to be just the “broken salt” grain.
For this reason, Australians have come up with another method, which is to use foreign organisms to destroy alien creatures, and now the brightest candidate is the natural enemy of rabbits – the species. fox. But for the fox when arriving in Australia, this is truly a new paradise for this small carnivore and they naturally become the smartest animal in Australia. They grew here and found that it was much easier to hunt native animals than to hunt rabbits. Australia is a continent with no foxes, so it is evident in the instinct of native animals to not develop a habit of fearing foxes, and now they hunt.
Therefore, this is considered a wrong step, in addition to trying to win the rabbits, in this war, the Australians have to shoulder another task is to destroy the fox.
To protect the fertile land in the west, the Australians have also built a long, south-east fence. And this is also one of the “great” fences in the world. But in fact, this monumental fence is completely useless because the rabbit can easily burrow through the fenced area. And at this point, the Australian government felt really helpless, so it offered a £ 25,000 bonus to anyone who could provide a truly effective rabbit killing plan.
At that time, the famous French biologist – Pasteur immediately sent three of his staff across the ocean to come to Australia to participate in the killing of rabbits. These people used chicken cholera but the real effect was not as they expected.
At this time, a Brazilian scientist named Aragón also proposed the method of using “biological weapons”, he did the same thing as Pasteur, but this virus was completely different – the Myxoma virus – a virus. lives on American rabbits.
However, the government doubted the virus’s safety in indigenous organisms and was also deeply puzzled by the methods of biological control, so this proposal was not accepted.
Louis Pasteur is a French microbiologist and chemist.
The government decided to use “advanced” means that were actually using military means and ushered in a chemical war with rabbits. However, the reproductive ability of the rabbits surpasses the rate of destruction of the army and the poison used to destroy the rabbits does not cause too much damage to the species, but also harm the ecosystem. meadow. And once again the Australian government gave up in the war with rabbits. Now the government was forced to once again take the risk of trying out the biological control method.
The biologists once again proposed the Myxoma virus, and after many years of research it was finally determined that it would not affect organisms other than rabbits in Australia. This is considered the most ideal weapon against rabbits.
The biologists spread the virus by infecting mosquitoes with the virus, and mosquitoes pass the virus to rabbits. In just two years, 80% -95% of the rabbits in mainland Australia were wiped out, the virus with a 99.9% mortality rate finally ending the rabbit disaster.
At this time, the Australian government felt very regretful for not listening to Aragón earlier. If this virus were to be adopted early, the government would have saved a lot of money and could have saved a lot of native species.
And the question now is: Will these viruses be spread among species one day?