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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
ARCHIVED ARTICLES
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

 
January 14th, 2013
Native Species Expected to Rebound on Rat-free Palmyra Atoll
Palmyra Atoll is rat-free one year after a major effort to remove these invasive predators, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Island Conservation announced today.

January 28, 2013

     

Contact:
Kathleen Goldstein, Island Conservation, 202-841-0295
Evelyn Wight, The Nature Conservancy, 808-587-6277
Joan Jewett, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 503-231-6211

Removing non-native rats was the top priority for the Palmyra Atoll Restoration Project, a multi-year effort to protect 10 nesting seabird species, migratory shorebirds, the rare coconut crab, and one of the largest remaining native Pisonia grandis forests (a rare flowering tree in the Bougainvillea family) in the tropical Pacific.
 
Palmyra Atoll, approximately 1,000 miles south of Honolulu, Hawai‘i, is cooperatively managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy as a National Wildlife Refuge and a scientific research station. The area includes 25 islets covering 580 acres of land, and thousands of acres of healthy coral reefs. In 2009, the refuge and waters surrounding it were also included in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
 
Non-native black rats were likely introduced to the atoll during World War II, and the population grew to as many 30,000 rats.  The invasive rodents eat eggs and chicks of ground and tree-nesting birds, particularly sooty and white terns. Rats also eat land crabs and the seeds and seedlings of native tree species.   
 
To reverse this trend, in June 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Island Conservation carefully and strategically implemented the removal of the destructive, non-native rats from Palmyra Atoll, using a rodenticide that had been successful in similar projects on other islands.  The Palmyra project was the result of more than seven years of planning and research to ensure that native species were not harmed during the removal, and was the first step in a longer-term effort to restore the atoll’s ecological balance. 
 
“This wonderful atoll is again able to thrive the way nature intended—without rats.  Palmyra has been infested with rats for so long, there will be benefits to wildlife we didn’t even fully anticipate—such as the explosion of the fiddler crab population that we’re seeing,” said Susan White, Monument Superintendent/Refuge Project Leader, PacificReefs National Wildlife Refuge and Monuments Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “Palmyra’s crucial role in sustaining the Pacific oceanscape is solidified because of this remarkable team of exceptionally talented people.”
 
Using the same proven methods that were used years before to detect the extent of the rat problem on Palmyra, scientists conducted surveys over a month-long period this summer and confirmed that the entire atoll is currently rat-free.  In the tropical climate at Palmyra, rats reproduce approximately once every 3-4 months, so conducting surveys one year after the removal effort is sufficient time to detect rats remaining on the atoll. During the summer, the project partners established a network of 286 rat detection stations that covered the entire atoll. Each station was checked four times during the course of one month. Aside from the detection stations, team members spent hundreds of hours scouring the atoll for natural indicators of rat presence.  In accordance with observations of the recovery of native species over the past year that suggested that the project was successful, the recent monitoring found no rats after one year.


 
“Millions of seabirds, trees, crabs and other native species can now thrive in their home without the threat of being eaten by rats.  Staff and visitors to the atoll have seen a large increase in the numbers of crabs, insects, seedlings and seabirds. Our collective efforts to bring balance back to Palmyra are working.  The scientific rigor, attention to detail, and collaboration is a testament to the integrity and cooperative nature of our partnership,” said Suzanne Case, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Hawai’i program.
 
The University of California Santa Cruz Coastal Conservation Action Lab (UCSC-CCAL) is monitoring the response of Palmyra’s terrestrial ecosystem by comparing measures of seabird, shorebird, and plant populations taken before and after rat removal.  In the summer of 2012 they found dramatic increases, including: 
 
· Over 130% increase in native tree seedlings (Palmyra has ten locally rare native tree species), and the first record of Pisonia seedlings (no seedlings were observed in 2007 prior to rat removal);
· A 367% increase in arthropods (such as insects, spiders, and crabs); and
· No change in Bristle-thighed Curlews found at Palmyra (special care was taken to ensure this imperiled species was not negatively impacted by the rat removal project) 
 
“With the atoll free of rats, we are already seeing a dramatic increase in many things that rats preyed upon: nesting seabirds, migratory shorebirds, native tree seedlings, and small invertebrates like fiddler crabs. The island is truly rebounding,” said Gregg Howald, North America Regional Director, Island Conservation. 
 
Although Palmyra is rat-free today, the threat of re-introducing rats or other invasive species is present anytime a boat or airplane travels to the atoll.  A detailed prevention plan is in place to minimize the threat of non-native species being introduced to the atoll.
 
The removal of introduced species such as black rats is a proven, effective conservation tool that has been successful on numerous islands across the globe, including the Galapagos archipelago, a multitude of islands in New Zealand, the Channel Islands off the coast of California, and Hawadax Island (formerly ‘Rat Island’) of the Aleutian Island chain in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. 

Additional Resources Available:
 
· Protect Palmyra website - http://www.protectpalmyra.org/

 You can download a copy of this press release here.

Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands.

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