Italian environmental groups are attempting to block a plan to inundate the island of Montecristo with rat poison to wipe out an infestation of black rats, reported the London Telegraph newspaper.
The groups say that the native species on Montecristo—the uninhabited nature reserve island referred to in the Alexander Dumas novel, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo,’—would be affected if Italian officials drop 26 tons of rat poison pellets to take out the infestation.
The Anti-Vivisection League, an environmental and conservation group in Italy, submitted a formal complaint against the plan with the relevant agencies.
“It is a truly absurd idea,” Gianluca Felicetti, who heads the group, told the Telegraph. “Dropping 26 tons of poison out of an aircraft is an irresponsible action because it puts at risk all the fauna of the island.”
Felicetti said the poison would injure or kill fish, other marine life, and other species of animal on the island. “We want to know how many animals, and what species, might be affected by this crazy idea,” he added.
In a report two weeks ago, national park head Franca Zanichelli said that “no one wants to poison the island,” but added: “The project will be managed by experts. The poison pellets are similar to those used everywhere to kill rats.”Dropping massive amounts of poison pellets on islands have been done in other countries, particularly in New Zealand, where rats have killed off native flightless birds.