PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia --
The pest management team assigned to the 378th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron safely relocated an Arabian spiny-tailed lizard, May 13, on Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The lizard, caught a few days before, is mostly herbivorous but will bite when cornered with no room to flee. Though only one of the many creatures the team has caught and released, the large lizard drew the attention of leadership, presenting a chance to highlight the small career field doing so much behind the scenes.
“It’s a small career field, not many people notice us, except when we catch an interesting animal,” said Senior Airman Anh Nguyen, the single pest management Airman in the 378th ECES. “But I’d say the most important part of pest management is probably preventative maintenance.”
Though insects and rodents may seem harmless, if they are left unmanaged around food or living areas, they can spread diseases, harmful bacteria or even attract their bigger and often deadlier predators.
To prevent any operational impairment of PSAB, before it twitches its wing, whisker, tongue or tail, the three 378th ECES pest management specialists do regular walk-throughs and set traps in high food and drink consumption areas, predict potential locations and movements of the regional wildlife, and investigate any sightings around living quarters, work areas or mission assets.
“Snakes, lizards, cats, foxes, camel spiders, flies, ants, scorpions; you name it, we’re there taking care of it,” said James Carroll, one of two civilian contractors with 378th ECES pest management. “It's really just about increasing the quality of life on base, keeping troops safe and keeping the mission going.”
In an effort to share the planet, most creatures, even venomous or potentially deadly ones, caught by pest management are safely relocated to an ecologically appropriate area away from living and work areas.
“Everything, for the most part, is catch and release,” said Carroll. “They’re part of the ecosystem and we’re not into changing ecosystems or eradicating species. This is just as much their habitat; more their habitat, then it is ours. It's all about coexisting and just moving them out of our living places.”
Nobody wants to be hurt while they’re eating, sleeping or simply living their life surviving. That goes for homosapiens and all other species. Pest management helps keep the ecosystem at peace as the Air Force accomplishes its mission within it.