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20 May 2020

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walrus

Col. Lang, TTG, Fred, JPB,

Australia has a sad history of introducing pest animals. The Austin family introduced the rabbit for something to shoot at. around 1840. Someone else introduced the fox for something to chase. These two pests are still with us as they have few predators. They have done untold damage to the economy as well as killing or displacing native wildlife. Perhaps a hundred years later the carp was introduced as a “decoration “ for ornamental ponds of the chinese style. It too escaped into the wild and has been in plague proportions throughout Eastern Australian rivers for at least forty years. Carp is a bottom feeder that stirs up river sediment which is not a good thing. The latest introduced pest is the cane toad - a poisonous species introduced deliberately to combat some sort of sugar cane grub around 1930. It is still spreading.

The only successes we have had is with biological controls. Myxomatosis and now Calicevirus has controlled the rabbits. The carp virus has been undergoing testing on native fish and other native species for at least ten years with no ill effects, it appears to be specific to carp. We hope to have it released shortly. We christened that future event “carpageddon”.

Yes, trout - rainbow and brown, are an introduced species but their populations are self limited to the headwaters of snow fed rivers like ours - they cannot survive downstream because it’s too warm and oxygen levels are therefore too low for them. There are few things better in the country than going out in a still, cold, dawn, perhaps with some fog and a rising sun, and fly fishing for a breakfast trout.

The Twisted Genius

Walrus,

Was that calcivirus purposely introduced? My younger son just yesterday told me of the calcivirus appearing in wild rabbit populations in California last month. Since he has two house rabbits, he keeps track of these things. There is a vaccine available in Europe, but not in the US. He's not going to let his rabbits run around the yard anymore. Doesn't matter, they have the run of the house already.

turcopolier

walrus
These carp were originally koi? I suppose they have lost their decorative coloring by now.

walrus

TTG, Col. Lang,

The Calicivirus was deliberately introduced after a ten year research program to control rabbits as a lot of them had become resistant to Myxomatosis virus. I visited a desert resort some two years after the release and the owner was ecstatic about the difference it had made - he was seeing young seedlings of native trees appearing that hadn’t been seen for many years. Around here we still control the odd rabbit with a twelve gauge or .22.

The carp may, I think, been brought in as Koi but I’m not sure. They are a real pest - destroying river bottoms by chewing up mud all the time which destroys native animal habitat. The only good use we have found is for liquid fertiliser. See. www.charliecarp.com.au

The Twisted Genius

pl and Walrus,

Goldfish and even the fancy koi can lose their colorings as they age. Loss of exposure to sunlight like in murky or muddy waters can do the same. Without care, they revert to their original mundane colorings and huge size.

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