MPI intercepts stowaway rodent

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A mouse from the Cook Islands failed in its stowaway bid after biosecurity officials found it in a hollowed-out baguette at Auckland airport.

Ministry for Primary Industries staff initially discovered ants, cockroaches and rodent droppings when a Taiwanese passenger recently declared food in a carry bag after returning from the Cook Islands, says Craig Hughes, MPI’s Northern Border Clearance Manager, Passengers and Mail.

Inside the bag was a baguette that had been hollowed out from the top in a sealed plastic bag.

MPI staff conducted a full search of the passenger’s luggage and then sent the contaminated items to be treated.   

The mouse appeared after the bag was treated.

“It clearly didn’t like the insecticide, as it tried to escape the plastic bag a few moments later.

“Our lab staff initially got a bit of shock. They were amazed at how the mouse had made itself such a cosy nest in the baguette for its travels.  

“There was some sadness as well, as the mouse had to be humanely euthanised to protect New Zealand from biosecurity risks to our primary industries or environment.

The passenger was very apologetic when told about the live mouse and happily agreed to dispose of the remaining food, he says.

MPI was pleased the passenger had declared the food in the first place.

“Any passenger that declares or disposes of biosecurity risk goods before passing the border is doing their bit to keep New Zealand safe from dangerous pests or diseases,” says Hughes.

NB. This biosecurity interception was made by the Ministry for Primary Industries, not NZ Customs.

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