50 Years of Rodent Eradication–Here’s What We Learned

When rats are introduced to islands, the damage they do to the ecosystem is staggering. They become unnatural predators. Ground nesting birds, for example, are directly threatened by the invasive rats. Not equipped to defend against the new predators, these vulnerable species face endangerment and extinction.

Island Conservation Science booby on palmyra

Brown Booby Parent and Chick on Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands. Photo by Island Conservation

Rats also decimate the native flora, and can carry diseases. Unfortunately, it’s easy for people to accidentally transport rats to parts of the world they did not originally inhabit. Much more difficult is removing them–but exactly how difficult is eradication?

Island Conservation Science PisoniaNative Pisonia seedlings on Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands. Prior to restoration, invasive rats consumed all native Pisonia seeds and seedlings. Today, the native plant is growing and towering overhead. Photo by Island Conservation

A new study sheds light on the removal process. Fifty years of rodent eradication in New Zealand were documented in the NZ Journal of Ecology. This documentation can help researchers and conservationists to maximize efficacy in rodent eradication and protect native species.

Read the original article The University of Auckland website.

Feature photo: Island Conservation Staff in Puerto Rico. Credit: Tommy Hall/Island Conservation

About Sara Kaiser

Sara received a BA in anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 2014. As a freelance writer and editor, she seeks to produce and highlight stories that support ecological responsibility, body awareness, emotional intelligence, and creative action, and reveal the connections between them.

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