Alaskan island now rat free, but not without collateral damage

A poisoning program on an island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain, intended to save native birds from introduced rats, led to the death of more than 420 of its avian residents, including 46 Bald Eagles.

The effort was devised and conducted by Island Conservation, an organization that I mentioned in my post on the Quelili. According to a report by the Ornithological Council, the group applied the rodenticide brodifacoum at rates higher than recommended by experts in island restoration and possibly above the legal limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Glaucous-winged Gulls died from eating the bait, and Bald Eagles died from scavenging their carcasses.

The poisoning campaign freed “Rat Island” of its namesakes, which will greatly increase the productivity of its nesting birds, but the report indicates that the eradication could have been accomplished with far lower mortality of some of the species it was aimed at protecting.

Read the full story at Nature News.

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3 thoughts on “Alaskan island now rat free, but not without collateral damage

  1. I think the Island Conservation in Mexico is different than the Island Conservation in California and Canada. The one based in California and Canada doesn’t seem to know what they are doing, like poisoning all those bald eagles in Alaska.

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