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BBC’s The Inquiry Features Island Conservation CEO, Karen Poiani

As species face the world’s sixth mass extinction, BBC’s The Inquiry asks the question—can we stop a mass extinction?

The world is on the verge of the sixth mass extinction and conservationists around the world are doing their part to save species. BBC’s The Inquiry asks four experts including Island Conservation CEO, Karen Poiani, if we can stop a mass extinction and what is being done to save species today.

Islands make up only 5% of the Earth’s land mass, but they are home to 19% of avian biodiversity and 41% of all highly threatened terrestrial vertebrates. The number one threat that these species face—invasive species. Luckily, conservation can help save these species.

Palmyra Atoll, located about 1,000 miles southwest of Hawai‘i is a perfect example of the damage invasive species can cause and the impact invasive species removal can have on recovery. Invasive rats once covered the island, feeding on seeds, seedlings, seabird eggs, and hatchlings. In 2011 the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Island Conservation removed invasive rats from the atoll to protect native species from extinction. Five years later, Island Conservation Scientists, Coral Wolf, detected a 5000% increase in native vegetation recruitment.

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Native Pisonia forests regrow after invasive species removal on Palmyra Atoll.

Poiani goes on to share stories of recovery on Cabritos Island after the removal of invasive species and the importance of biosecurity on the Galápagos Islands. The question remains, can we stop the sixth mass extinction? We can try. Since humans and our actions are the leading causes of this mass extinction, we certainly are obligated to try and save species. There is hope for many species and saving islands is one way we can help prevent extinctions.

Listen to the full podcast at BBC’s The Inquiry.
Featured photo: A White Tern on Palmyra Atoll. Credit: Abram Fleishman/Island Conservation

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

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