The community of St. Paul Island, Island Conservation, and our partners are celebrating the successful removal of a single invasive rat from St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska.
Last fall, an unwelcome hitchhiker—an individual invasive rat—made its way onto St. Paul Island, Alaska, one of the Pribilof Islands.
The Pribilof Islands are home to more than 3 million nesting birds and are considered one of the most important seabird nesting sites in the Bering Sea. The introduction of one invasive rat might not sound concerning, but if that rat were to be a pregnant female, it could quickly escalate into a major threat. Lauren Divine, director of the Ecosystem Conservation Office at Aleut Community of St. Paul Island explained:
Rats have such a potential to invade and change the ecosystem in a way we’d never recover from.”
To protect native wildlife and prevent the spread of more invasive rats, personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ECO, USDA Wildlife Services, and Island Conservation came together to form a “strike team” in search of the invasive rat. The team set up cameras and traps throughout the island in hopes of finding the individual, but for ten long months, the team had no such luck.
That is, until last week when a visiting birder found the invasive rat dead. A sigh of relief has rushed over St. Paul Island. Although monitoring will continue for a few months to ensure that no other rats remain.
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