22 Jul 2004

Palau watchful against pests

4:20 pm on 22 July 2004

The Festival of Pacific Arts in Palau is under way with thousands of people attending the event.

While visiting artists and spectators are welcome to the festival, the government is keeping a careful watch out for unwelcome insect pests.

Authorities fear that if hitchhiking insects and other pests were to establish themselves in Palau, they could harm the country's agriculture and environment, and potentially its trade and tourism.

Sixteen volunteers have been recruited to assist with checks on visitor's baggage and already, three unwanted hitchhikers have been dealt with.


As Palau International Airport customs officers opened a delegate's bag a 2 cm-long wasp flew out.

Two more were found inside the bag.

All three were immediately killed, stored and photographed to later assist in their identification.