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ENVIRONMENTAL PEST MANAGEMENT AT WORK

Ensystex has been involved in a number of environmental projects, including sea turtle conservation in Malaysia. 

Ensystex has a strong affinity with protecting the environment, and a key focus of their new product development programs is to provide for more effective and environmentally responsible solutions. This all of course began with the Exterra Termite Colony Elimination System and the support of Ensystex and their Exterra Operators for Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).

It is no surprise therefore to learn of Ensystex’s further involvement in wildlife conservation in association with Universiti Malaysia Terengganu’s Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU). Having protected the campus at Kuala Terengganu from termites with Exterra, Ensystex, together with their local pest manager, Insepro, were asked to protect the timber buildings at the isolated research station at Chagar Hutang on Pulau Redang (pictured above) which were being destroyed by termites.

This led to Ensystex’s regional director, Steve Broadbent becoming personally involved in the work of the Sea Turtle Research Unit to advise on protecting the turtles themselves.

Dr Juanita Joseph, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu’s head of sea turtle research, advised, “The turtle population in Pulau Redang is being decimated by a colony of particularly hardy rats, which have so far managed to thwart multiple efforts to eradicate them. The rats are threatening the long- term sea turtle conservation site at Chagar Hutang.

“The rats have been the main enemy in our turtle conservation efforts over the past decade, and there is a pressing need for more substantial rat eradication measures. Besides eating the eggs, these rats will also eat baby turtles alive. The rats will wait for the baby turtles to emerge from the sand after hatching. They usually only eat the belly and head because the shell is too hard for them.”

Dr Joseph further explained that other pests such as fire ants, ghost crabs and monitor lizards were also threats to the baby turtles.

This has led to Ensystex becoming involved in not only protecting the timber buildings at Chagar Hutang from decimation by termites, but also in developing programs for the protection of the turtles from the rats, monitor lizards and fire ants.

Mr Broadbent said, “We are focusing on the rats first, because they are the largest threat to the turtle population. Goodnature E2 Automatic Humane Rat & Mouse Traps have been placed to humanely kill the pest rats in a manner that is friendly to the environment. The Goodnature E2 does not use any chemicals, with the rats killed instantly, after which the trap resets itself automatically ready for the next kill. The rats also remain in the environment as food for other species. We can also set the E2 to ensure we do not kill non-target species, e.g. native green squirrels.

The Goodnature E2 humanely kills pest rats in a manner friendly to the environment

“Fire ants were easy to tackle with the judicious use of Hymenopthor Ultra Granular Ant & Cockroach Bait.

“The issue with monitor lizards is certainly more challenging and one of those ‘fun’ challenges that pest control often throws up.

“Whilst the Malaysian wildlife authority were prepared to consider culling some lizards to protect the turtles, I do think we have a possible solution which is more in line with all of our concepts of environmental responsibility.”

Ensystex has developed a new natural product that is currently undergoing registration in Australia for deterring birds without causing them any harm.

“I believe we can adapt this to deter the monitor lizards from the turtle nests. We will trial this both in-situ at Chagar Hutang, and also in a more controlled environment in association with Chris Durward of Complete Pest Control in Adelaide. Chris is very knowledgeable on reptiles and committed to protecting our native Australian goannas. Chris’ involvement allows us the opportunity to work with his backyard colony of goannas, which are a closely related species to those at Chagar Hutang,” added Mr Broadbent.

The high profile nature of this work and its importance in highlighting the benefits professional pest managers offer, was later exemplified when Mr Broadbent presented a talk on ‘Responsible Pest Management’ at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu’s, Sultanah Nur Zahirah Auditorium, which was attended by several hundred researchers and students, together with reporters from several national newspapers.