All news articles

October 15th, 2014
Palmyra Atoll: On the path to recovery
September 3rd, 2014
Conservation Wins! Our Impact Report.
September 3rd, 2014
The last places on Earth with no invasive species
June 24th, 2014
First Global Assessment of Seabirds Threatened by Invasive Alien Species on Islands Released
May 21st, 2014
Island Bright Spots in Conservation
January 29th, 2014
Saving the World’s Most Endangered Lizards
January 29th, 2014
Salvando a las Lagartijas en Mayor Peligro del Mundo
November 25th, 2013
Island Conservation Impact Report
October 23rd, 2013
Hawadax Island Recovery Exceeding Expectations
October 15th, 2013
One Step Closer to Restoring Balance and Safe Seabird Habitat in Gwaii Haanas
July 24th, 2013
Back from the Brink of Extinction
July 24th, 2013
International Experts Convened to Improve Tropical Island Rodent Eradications
June 11th, 2013
Titi on Tahanea get a Helping Hand; Globally Endangered Shorebird Protected
June 11th, 2013
Coup de pouce pour les Titi de Tahanea. Protection d’un limicole en danger d’extinction
June 11th, 2013
Parks Canada and the Haida Nation Restoring Critical Seabird Habitat
June 4th, 2013
Native Iguanas and Shearwaters Saved from Invasive Mice on Allen Cay, The Bahamas
May 16th, 2013
Invasive Species: The 18-km2 rat trap
February 14th, 2013
Island Night Lizard: No longer threatened?
February 14th, 2013
Island Recovery Evident Ten Years after the Removal of Rats
January 14th, 2013
Battle at the End of Eden by Amanda R. Martinez
January 14th, 2013
Native Species Expected to Rebound on Rat-free Palmyra Atoll
December 8th, 2012
Galápagos Restoration Projects Makes Islands Safe for Native Species
December 8th, 2012
Island Conservation Opens New Office in Hawaii
July 31st, 2012
Funding secured for Lord Howe Island restoration
July 31st, 2012
Tahanea Atoll Motus now safe for the Titi!
July 31st, 2012
Island Conservation and Birdlife International Form Partnership to Tackle Pacific Pests
June 14th, 2012
Million Dollar Mouse Campaign
May 31st, 2012
It's Official!
October 31st, 2011
The Sounds of Recovery
October 31st, 2011
Olivier Langrand joins Island Conservation as Director of Global Affairs
05/2012 Restoring Wildlife Habitat on Desecheo Island
05/2012 Restauración del Hábitat del Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre de Desecheo
02/2012 Native Species on San Nicolas Island are Now Free to Reclaim Their Island Home
09/2011 Meet Dr. Ray Nias
09/2011 Palmyra: No Place for Pessimists
09/2011 Palmyra Atoll Restoration Project Completes Operational Phase to Remove Non-native Rats
07/2011 Island Hopping: Saving Species in the Tropical Pacific
04/2011 Meet our new Caribbean Regional Director!
03/2011 The Surfer's Journal meets Island Conservation
03/2011 Galapagos Restoration Partners Release Hawks Back to Islands
03/2011 Socios a cargo de la restauración de Galápagos liberan a veinte gavilanes en las islas
01/2011 Galápagos Restoration Project Achieves Conservation Milestone
12/2010 Island Conservation's 2009 Annual Report
12/2010 Island Conservation's Annual Report
08/2010 Rat Island is officially rat-free!
08/2010 IC helps Robinson Crusoe Island residents with tsunami recovery
05/2010 Meet our new South America Regional Director!
05/2010 Author David Quammen speaks on behalf of Island Conservation
03/2010 2010 International Year of Biodiversity
12/2009 Island Conservation's 2008 Annual Report
09/2009 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Publishes Priority List for Restoration of Islands with Invasive Species
05/2009 Island Conservation Honored with Department of Interior Partners in Conservation Award
12/2008 Saving Seabirds in the Aleutians
04/2008 IC and Galapagos and Machalilla National Parks unite to protect Waved Albatross on Isla de la Plata

September 12th, 2011
Palmyra: No Place for Pessimists
Rat Island author Will Stolzenburg writes about restoring Palmyra, Island Conservation, and the battle to save island species.

With the summer 2011 fieldwork completed and the crews moving on, there is reason to be hopeful that Palmyra Atoll has just become the latest world-class wildlife sanctuary made safe from dangerous invaders. If all goes well—if the bait that was laid several weeks ago has found its mark, if the check-ups to come find no signs of surviving rats—the champions of Palmyra will have taken a giant stride toward restoring the island to a wilder, more glorious version of itself. The seabird colonies of Palmyra will be free again to amass in numbers unseen since the predatory rats made land there during World War II. Not to mention the extraordinary fleet of land crabs (one monstrous species of which measures three feet long), or the towering Pisonia forest (the redwoods of Oceania) that had been subjugated to Palmyra’s reign of the rat.

Over the past two years I’ve been watching and writing about this conservation campaign as a fascinated spectator—not only of Palmyra’s resurrection, but of many islands the world over that Island Conservation and their collaborators have targeted. I’ve followed the island campaign as perhaps the most uplifting story in conservation of my twenty years as a journalist. Lately I’ve publicly proclaimed it the world’s greatest wildlife rescue. And now rather suddenly I have magazine reporters and radio hosts and acquaintances at the local bar asking me to explain myself.
The fact that you’re visiting this website suggests you don’t need to be told what I’ve been telling them. Over the past three thousand years, our ever-ubiquitous species has deposited a menagerie of mainland predators and competitors on thousands of islands far removed in space and time from their evolutionary origins. On these islands, thousands of species of birds, reptiles, and small mammals, and untold millions of lives, have been lost in the ensuing lopsided clash of savvy mainland predators versus naive, defenseless island species. And over the last century, most ardently and effectively in the past twenty years, conservationists have begun rescuing the remaining islanders and restoring their sanctuaries, by systematically removing the invaders.
That’s the elevator speech I use to explain my recent island obsession. How many other conservation campaigns can you name that have the tangible potential to save a million birds at a swipe, whose geographic breadth encompasses nearly half of all threatened species on the world’s Red List, whose success rate is running above ninety percent? For that matter, how many conservation stories in these times even offer a happy ending?

I don’t skim blithely over the downside of this campaign, over the pain and suffering that almost invariably goes with this brand of conservation by eradication. (And I have a hard time understanding those who do.) But neither do I overlook the far greater pain and eternal loss that faces so many native islanders who are otherwise left to fend for themselves. On balance, this story brings a refreshing departure from the many depressing tales of my environmental beat. This campaign isn’t about backpedaling, and taking comfort at losing only a little ground. It’s about pushing back and reclaiming our natural heritage, manifest in the magnificent swaths of island wilderness ringing anew with the multitudes of a purer past.

As to why more of us in the media aren't shouting this story from the rooftops, is a question whose answer still eludes me.  

You can learn more about Will Stolzenburg at his website,

To read the latest updates on the Palmyra Atoll Restoration Project click here or visit


Rat Island by Will Stolzenburg looks at the history of saving species by restoring islands and the impact it has. Thumbnail photo of Will Stolzenburg by Kathy Stolzenburg.

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