The mouse plague devastating parts of NSW, and the desperate attempts by farmers to eradicate the rodents, are having dire consequences on the local environment.
An investigation by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has revealed mouse bait used to combat the plague has resulted in the deaths of native birds in western parts of the state, the ABC reported.
The investigation confirms reports by locals who have shared harrowing images online, showing an unintended consequence of tackling the plague.
Kelly Lacey, from the NSW town of Parkes, penned a heartbreaking post on Facebook after a flock of galahs died from suspected poisoning.
"The scenes this morning that finally broke me," she wrote. "I have been caring for (what I suspect as) poisoned Galahs for quite a while now.
"Seeing them sitting with each other under trees, knowing they were suffering until they have eventually died, has utterly broken me," she wrote.
She said the unknown poison was wreaking havoc on the birds' innards.
"Whatever the poison was it is more potent than I have experienced, and they have bled internally.
"Sorry if images are confronting, but this is the reality of the mouse plague," she wrote.
Ms Lacey said she agrees with strong measures to tackle the scourge but speculated someone had spread poisoned grain, condemning such an act.
Concerns for wildlife after mouse baiting
Elevated mouse populations have been recorded from Central Queensland down to northern and central west NSW and into western Victoria.
Mice feast on the stubble of crops and reproduce roughly every three weeks once they reach six weeks old, making population control a near-impossible task. After more than eight months of the plague, many farmers say they are reaching breaking point.
In response to the situation, the NSW state government last month secured 5000 litres of the super deadly rodent poison bromadiolone – enough to treat about 95 tonnes of grain – offering to provide it for free once federal authorities approve its use.
However farmers are concerned about the poison's possible effect on farm dogs, piggeries and other animals.
Farmers speaking to the ABC this week feared the "napalm-like" poison could devastate native species including Murray cod.
"Fish are eating mice and there's the potential for that poison to enter the food chain through that," Narromine farmer Stu Crawford said.
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