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Nature & Environment

Australian islands closed due to rat invasion

By T.K. Randall
May 28, 2018 · Comment icon 4 comments



Rats are a common nuisance across the world. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Reeturajesh
Up to a dozen islands off the far north coast of Queensland have now been closed to the public.
The invasive rodents, which made their way to the islands either by stowing away on boats or by 'rafting' over on logs, are thought to pose a significant danger to local nesting bird species.

To tackle the problem, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will be engaging in a three-week aerial baiting program targeting both the Frankland Islands and Northern Barnard Islands.

"They cause major extinctions and a decline in island biodiversity around the world, and we certainly know on our Australian islands they have a huge impact on nesting seabirds," said ranger Warrick Armstrong. "They are damaging seabird eggs, eating hatchlings."
"We also have a lot of visitors to campgrounds, so there's a risk of disease."

The species of rat in question - Rattus rattus - originated in the Indian sub-continent before spreading across the entire globe and is now considered to be a major pest.

"They are noticeable," said Armstrong. "There are signs of them, scats and droppings and tracks along the high-tide mark where they are foraging."

"They are gnawing on the native cabbage to get moisture because some of these islands don't have their own water source."

Source: ABC.net.au | Comments (4)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
These rats problems are a really bad. Introduced species are bad for local wildlife everywhere. Domestic cat are an incredible death sentence for birds in north america and kill more than all others predators combined. In Australia rats, cane toad, boar, fox, dogs, rabbits, camels, etc are raging chaos on the ecosystem. I think their ecosystem is the most or one of the most hurt by introduced species. It's easier to get rid of one species on a define land like an island but I don't know about other species eating these bait. It's probably a last resort measure...
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew 5 years ago
They need to rat bait the entire island(s) even if there is a potential to poison local wildlife because rats WILL cause the extinction of native nesting birds and other animals, and likely the bait can be tailored for rodents.  I believe they have successfully eradicated rats from other islands this way and once they are gone, the native wildlife can recover. 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Myles 5 years ago
They should use this as an opportunity.   Let people volunteer to go and kill them.   50 cents per rat.   Pellet guns would work.   After they are done in a couple months, bait and kill the rest.   Perhaps PETA will move their home office to one of the islands.
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
Quick, get me the Pied Piper's number or email! Maybe c*** roaches won't be the next dominate life form after humans.  Rats and other rodents do  pretty good jib of reproducing and surviving, too.


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