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How The RAF Fought Malaria With Parachuting Cats | The Fact Site

Malaria is without doubt one of the deadliest illnesses on the Earth, claiming the lives of round 1,000,000 folks annually by trendy requirements – and plenty of extra within the final century.

In fact, mosquitoes are the prime suspect for spreading malaria – truly being the animal attributed to probably the most human deaths per 12 months.

So, when the Dayak folks of Borneo had been affected by a very virulent malaria outbreak as a reason behind excessive mosquito numbers, they determined to name the World Well being Group (WHO) for some assist.

With the tip sport of eradicating Borneo’s disease-spreading mosquitoes, the WHO sprayed a considerable amount of the potent insecticide DDT throughout the island.

Which, to be truthful, form of work.

The % of malaria-carrying mosquitoes fell from 35.6% to 1.6% in a two-year interval.

Drawback solved, proper?


The consequence of the motion.

Three mosquitoes

The spraying of Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, generally generally known as DDT didn’t simply have an effect on the mosquito life on the island, but it surely additionally affected parasitic wasps native to Borneo.

After a short time, the entire roofs on the Dayak homes began mysteriously collapsing.

Because it seems, the DDT used to kill the mosquitoes had additionally destroyed most of those parasitic wasps.

This meant that the island’s inhabitants of thatch-eating caterpillars – often prey for the parasitic wasps – was flourishing.

Sadly for the Dayak folks, all of their home roofs had been made from tasty tasty thatch.

Up the meals chain.

A sick cat with a blanket and ice pack on its forehead

Now, when you suppose the above implication is unhealthy, that is the place it will get worse.

The DDT had a reasonably vital impact on all insect life throughout the island, which meant many small bugs had ingested the DDT and had it actively of their techniques.

The island’s inhabitants of geckos began consuming these DDT-ridden bugs.

Now, as a result of the DDT had a organic half-life of as much as eight years, it may stay dormant inside the geckos for this lengthy.

This, when coupled with the geckos’ gradual metabolism, that means they ultimately turned fairly contaminated with DDT – however that wasn’t an issue.

In spite of everything, the geckos had been proof against the toxic results of the stuff.

All good, proper?

Fallacious once more!

The island’s cat inhabitants who ate the geckos had been not proof against the poisonous results of the DDT.

This meant that the cats began dying off in droves after consuming the DDT-drenched lizards, which meant just one factor.


Tons and plenty and many rats.

Operation cat-drop.

A happy cat using a parachute

Because the rat inhabitants ballooned uncontrolled, the Dayak folks discovered themselves going through all method of rat-related issues just like the Plague popping up and their grain shops all being eaten away.

So, the Dayak folks known as the WHO once more to say they had been scuffling with a rat infestation.

Not like final time, the WHO didn’t have a go-to answer for the issue, in order that they received their considering caps on.

They made a fast name to the British Royal Air Pressure, and shortly sufficient, Operation Cat Drop was kicked into motion.

In 1965, the RAF flew sorties over the island of Borneo, air-dropping hundreds of parachuted crates stuffed with moggies into Borneo in an try to reverse the issue – one thing which truly labored!


So, if there’s one lesson to remove from this, it’s that; when you can’t totally perceive the implications, your actions may have, taking no motion might be one of the best trigger.

Oh, additionally, cats. Tons and many cats are the answer.

Do you know that malaria kills round a million folks yearly worldwide?

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