OK, we all know about the Great Wall, the Great Firewall and the Great Green Wall. All that is old news now. Get this: China is now building a 6 million yuan, 40-kilometer (25-mile) long, 1 meter (3.3 feet) high wall around Dongting Lake in Hunan Province to guard against the 2 billion field mice that have been on the run from the flooded Yangtse River. Already, the mice have destroyed about 520,000 hectares (1.3 million acres) of crop land when rising water drove them from their burrows. And even the enterprising businessmen in Guangdong who sought to help by bringing the mice en masse to the dinner table did little to mitigate the situation.
Because of intensive farming and the use of anti-pest poisons, the populations of predators such as owls, snakes and weasels, have dwindled and China must now take time to build them. Some scientists have expressed doubt at the long-term effectiveness of the mice wall project. Said Wen Bo, director of the China program at Pacific Environment, a San Francisco-based conservation group:
Walls won’t shield farmers from the next mouse plague… The wall is a symbolic gesture to quiet public concern… It’s not going to work in the long run.
Yet, for farmers and villagers, some of whom have lost entire harvests of corn, peanuts and watermelon, the mice wall project seems like the best (and only) solution for now. Said one farmer, Zhang, 62:
Once they get the wall built, we’ll be better off
It is highly likely that by the year 2020 (yes, that wonderful year when paradise would have come to earth), China will not only be a “harmonious society” at last but also possibly the world’s most walled nation.
Shanghaiist: Not your run-of-the-mill rat race
Shanghaiist: How would ou like your rat done, sir?
Bloomberg: China Builds New Great Wall to Defend Against Mice, Not Mongols
Photo of stewed rat from Jan Chipchase.