9/27 Parachuting Cats

 On Wednesday and Thursday, we learned about the parachuting of cats in Borneo. In the 1950s,  Borneo had an outbreak of Malaria caused by the destruction of forests and the building of different plantations and farmland. More mosquitoes came, and so the outbreak occurred. After a short time, the World Health Organization made a chemical called DDT ( dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane ) to kill the mosquitoes. It worked, but DDT also killed the wasps that ate the thatch – eating caterpillars, so the population of the caterpillars went up. As the population of the caterpillars grew, the peoples roofs started to decay and then collapsed! As well as killing the wasps, DDT also started poisoning and killing other insects that the lizards ate, and poisoned the lizards, which the cats ate, and all the cats started to die! So, with the cat population down, the rats started to come back, and brought diseases with them to. The rats had brought in OTHER diseases like, typhus and hantavirus.  So with the rats bringing all these diseases in, the World Health Organization decided to parachute cats into Borneo to hunt the disease – giving rats

When we learned this, I was very surprised by how these events created such a domino effect. DDT caused more problems than it fixed! I think that one way that you could use this knowledge is: don’t overuse chemicals, or don’t use them at all. In this case, a chemical was needed to kill the mosquitoes,  but they overused it, and so it caused more problems. So, if you NEED to use chemicals, then at least don’t overuse them. One of the ways that we learned about this is that we created a drawing of the cycle, a scene of the outbreak, etc, and I really enjoyed that, because the effect that it caused was really interesting to learn about and recreate. With this project, I think I participated fairly well, but I know I could have participated more. I think that one thing that i could have done differently is doing more research before Annabella and me started on the drawing.



  • Was DDT banned after the outbreak?
  • How did the cats get out of the parachutes after they land?
  • How many cats did they parachute into Borneo?

2 thoughts on “9/27 Parachuting Cats

  1. What a great informative post! I can tell you went the extra mile and did some research on what happened. The way you described this as a domino affect is right on – it is also called a trophic cascade. Do you remember the video on how wolves change rivers – it is the same kind of domino affect. I am glad you enjoyed the art part of the project as well. You really showed your understanding Avery – great job!

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