The cascade of tiny rodents that has devastated parts of New South Wales and driven families and farmers to the brink is still boiling over. You may have thought that the mouse plague had died down, but the little buggers are still trashing the place like tiny looters in a riot.
Today there has been reports that a jail in Wellington, about 40 minutes south-east of Dubbo, has had to be evacuated as mice have overrun the place.
Up to 200 staff and 420 male and female inmates at Wellington Correctional Centre will be transferred to other facilities over the next 10 days while the prison is cleaned and repaired. Mice have caused damage to the structure of the prison by chewing through internal wiring and ceiling panels.
The Corrective Services NSW Commissioner, Peter Severin, said operations at the jail would be scaled back to deal with the crisis and in-person visits had been suspended until the remediation work was completed.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of staff and inmates is our number one priority so it’s important for us to act now to carry out the vital remediation work,” he said according to The Guardian. “We need to take this step now to ensure the site is thoroughly cleaned and infrastructure is repaired.”
Staff will be redeployed to other jails in the region while a small team will remain on site to oversee and help with the repair work.
The assistant commissioner custodial corrections, Kevin Corcoran, said the remediation work would include investigating ways to protect the centre from future mice plagues.
Of course, homeowners are experiencing their own impacts, although unfortunately home insurance policies generally don’t cover damage by mice or other rodents (some will).
This is the worst mouse plague that Australia has had in almost a decade. The massive spike in rodent populations due to warmer weather, rain, and an abundance of crops, is thought to have caused well over $100 million in damages.
If you live in Sydney and feel lucky to have escaped the literal deluge of rodents, it might soon be time to jump on a chair as the mice are thought to be moving east and could hit Sydney by August – if the cold weather doesn’t put an end to them first.