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How new technologies can save lives and a paradise

Tetiaroa Island, a stunning atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is a luxurious holiday destination. Visitors can relax in the sun and admire the stunning natural beauty of the island without having to worry much…not even about mosquitoes! The island is part of a successful innovative vector control program that has reduced the local mosquito population by approximately 95%, and consequently the number of cases of diseases like dengue or Zika. The initiative is based on a new technology: the programme breeds and releases male-mosquitoes infected with a Wolbachia virus, which does not cause any harm to human health but turns female mosquitoes sterile.

New technologies could also help the island solve another problem: rats. Rats are a serious threat to the local ecosystem, damaging local habitats and eating local species, from turtles to sea birds. Island Conservation will lead a programme using drones to drop poisonous bait to help control the population of this invasive rodent. The baits are target specific and will not affect other species. This is only the second time the method will be applied and another example of how new technologies can help protect our environment.

More information is available on the BBC website.

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