Australia, while it may be the one place in the world where everything is trying to kill you, is also home to some of the most strange and unique animals on the face of the Earth. This doesn’t take away from the fact that even the sun is trying to kill you over there, but it is of great importance.
What’s strange is that even though the country has plenty of native species that are particularly dangerous, one stranger than the next, it’s the regular animals that generally cause no small amount of trouble. And it would seem like the more normal the animal, the more trouble it will cause.
You might remember that at some point the country had been so overrun with stray cats that they had to set poison traps in order to get rid of the millions of felines. Dingoes were also introduced to the country by seamen some four thousand years ago, and they quickly became a nuisance.
In possibly one of the strangest approaches to eliminate an unwanted species, Australia uses herpes to eliminate invasive carp species. Yeah. Herpes. You read that right. Australia is using herpes to get rid of an invasive species of carp that has taken over almost an entire ecosystem.
And following the tradition, carp is one of the most common species of fish in the world. As it turns out, this particular species is so invasive that it currently makes up about eighty or ninety percent of all the fish in the Murray-Darling River system in southeastern Australia.
According to a statement released by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in Australia,
Carp have major negative impact on water quality and the amenity value of our freshwater rivers and lakes. This affects all water users, including irrigators and regional communities. Carp also have a devastating impact on biodiversity, and have decimated native fish populations in many areas since they first became established as a major pest in the wild in the 1960s.
So, authorities have found a special strain of the herpes virus that only affects carps. They are set to release the virus in the water by the end of 2018, and they are expecting it to kill somewhere around seventy or eighty percent of the carp population. Of course, another program is already being developed in order to get rid of the millions of carp corpses that will take over the river.
While the Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 has been previously tested and even used since the ‘90s in China, it is expected that after using it for the first time the authorities will only be able to use it within two or three years. Otherwise, the remaining carps will quickly become completely immune to the virus.
Image source: Wikimedia