Skip to main content

Search the SPREP Catalogue

Refine Search Results

Tags / Keywords

Available Online

Tags / Keywords

Available Online

74 result(s) found.

Sort by

You searched for

  • Tags / Keywords rodents
    X
The impacts of introduced house mice on the breeding success of nesting seabirds on Gough Island
Available Online

Bond, Alexander L.

,

Caravaggi, Anthony

,

Cooper, John

,

Cuthber, Richard J.

,

Ryan, Peter G.

2018
Invasive species are the main threat to island biodiversity; seabirds are particularly vulnerable and are one of the most threatened groups of birds. Gough Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the South Atlantic Ocean, is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, and one of the most important seabird colonies globally. Invasive House Mice Mus musculus depredate eggs and chicks of most seabird species on the island, but the extent of their impact has not been quantified. We used field data and bootstrapped normal distributions to estimate breeding success and the number of surviving chicks for 10 seabird species on Gough Island, and compared estimates with those of analogous species from predator-free islands. We examined the effects of season and nest-site location on the breeding success of populations on Gough Island, predicting that the breeding success of Gough birds would be lower than that of analogues, particularly among small burrownesting species. We also predicted that winter-breeding species would exhibit lower breeding success than summer-breeding species, because mice have fewer alternative food sources in winter; and below-ground nesters would have lower breeding success than surface nesters, as below-ground species are smaller so their chicks are easier prey for mice. We did indeed find that seabirds on Gough Island had low breeding success compared with analogues, losing an estimated 1 739 000 (1 467 000–2 116 000) eggs/ chicks annually. Seven of the 10 focal species on Gough Island had particularly high chick mortality and may have been subject to intense mouse predation. Below-ground and winter breeders had lower breeding success than surface- and summer-breeders. MacGillivray’s Prion Pachyptila macgillivrayi, Atlantic Petrel Pterodroma incerta and Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena are endemic or near-endemic to Gough Island and are likely to be driven to extinction if invasive mice are not removed.
The Ecology of Rodents in the Tonga Islands
Available Online

Twibell, John

The influence on crop damage of Rattus norvegicus, Rattus rattus, and the native Polynesian rat, Rattus exulans, was studied during the establishment of a rat control program for the Tongan Department of Agriculture in 1969. This was the first long-term study of Tongan rodents. Previous scientific literature on Tongan mammals is very sparse. The Kingdom of Tonga, or Friendly Islands, consists of approximately 150 small islands with a combined area of about 256 square miles at lat 21 0 S. The majority of these islands are composed of raised coral limestone ; however, there is a row of six volcanic islands on Tonga's western border. Tongatapu, the location of the government center, is the largest and most important island. The Ha'apai island group lies 80 miles north of Tongatapu, and 150 miles north is the Vava'u group. Fiji is 420 nautical miles east and Samoa is 480 miles north. The climate is tropical and is influenced seasonally by trade winds. Since Captain Cook's first visit in 1773, Western civilization has brought trade, missionaries, and perhaps rats to Tonga. With this shipping came numerous introduced plants and animals. The arrival dates for the common rat, Rattus norvegicus, and the "European" roof rat, Rattus rattus, are not known, but are believed to be more recent, probably since the increase of regular shipping trade and the construction of wharves. Presently rodents account for approximately 20 percent of the agricultural losses and $50,000 worth of economic loss each year (Twibell, unpublished). This is a conservative estimate based on damage counts and observation. In some areas rats destroy or damage up to 50 percent of the coconuts, which represent the main economic crop in Tonga. THE INFLUENCE on crop damage of Rattus norvegicus, Rattus rattus, and the native Polynesian rat, Rattus exulans, was studied during the establishment of a rat control program for the Tongan Department of Agriculture in 1969. This was the first long-term study of Tongan rodents. Previous scientific literature on Tongan mammals is very sparse. The Kingdom of Tonga, or Friendly Islands, consists of approximately 150 small islands with a combined area of about 256 square miles at lat 21 0 S. The majority of these islands are composed of raised coral limestone ; however, there is a row of six volcanic islands on Tonga's western border. Tongatapu, the location of the government center, is the largest and most important island. The Ha'apai island group lies 80 miles north of Tongatapu, and 150 miles north is the Vava'u group. Fiji is 420 nautical miles east and Samoa is 480 miles north. The climate is tropical and is influenced seasonally by trade winds. Since Captain Cook's first visit in 1773, Western civilization has brought trade, missionaries, and perhaps rats to Tonga. With this shipping came numerous introduced plants and animals. The arrival dates for the common rat, Rattus norvegicus, and the "European" roof rat, Rattus rattus, are not known, but are believed to be more recent, probably since the increase of regular shipping trade and the construction of wharves. Presently rodents account for approximately 20 percent of the agricultural losses and $50,000 worth of economic loss each year (Twibell, unpublished). This is a conservative estimate based on damage counts and observation. In some areas rats destroy or damage up to 50 percent of the coconuts, which represent the main economic crop in Tonga.
The history of the aerial application of rodenticide in New Zealand
Available Online

Broome, K.

,

Garden, P.

,

McClelland, P.

2019
Following the incursion of rats (Rattus rattus) on Taukihepa (Big South Cape Island; 93.9 km²) off southern New Zealand in 1963, and the subsequent extirpation of several endemic species, the New Zealand Wildlife Service realised that, contrary to general belief at the time, introduced predators do not reach a natural balance with native species and that a safe breeding habitat for an increasing number of ‘at risk’ species was urgently needed. Off shore islands offered the best option for providing predator free habitat but there was a limited number of predator-free islands available and most were very small. Eradicating rodents on larger islands to provide a wider range and greater area of habitats was required and hand treating these larger areas using trapping and hand application of toxicants, the only methods available at the time, proved problematic and often impossible. Helicopters had been used to distribute bait for the control of rabbits and brushtail possums in the past but eradication of any particular predator species was considered ‘not feasible’. The development of a GPS-based aircraft guidance system, a suitable bait product, specialised bait delivery systems and second-generation anti-coagulant toxicants changed that. Now islands as large as South Georgia (3,900 km²) have been treated using this method
Successes and failures of rat eradications on tropical islands: a comparative review of eight recent projects
Available Online

Brown, D.

,

Cranwell, S.

,

Cuthbert, R.J.

,

Griffiths, R.

,

Howald, G.

,

Keitt, B.

,

Pitt, W.C.

,

Tershy, B.

,

Wegmann, A.

2019
Rat eradication is a highly effective tool for conserving biodiversity, but one that requires considerable planning eff ort, a high level of precision during implementation and carries no guarantee of success. Overall, rates of success are generally high but lower for tropical islands where most biodiversity is at risk. We completed a qualitative comparative review on four successful and four unsuccessful tropical rat eradication projects to better understand the factors influencing the success of tropical rat eradications and shed light on how the risk of future failures can be minimised. Observations of juvenile rats surviving more than four weeks after bait application on two islands validate the previously considered theoretical risk that unweaned rats can remain isolated from exposure to rodent bait for a period. Juvenile rats emerging after bait was no longer readily available may have been the cause of some or all the project failures. The elevated availability of natural resources (primarily fruiting or seeding plants) generated by rainfall prior to project implementation(documented for three of the unsuccessful projects) may also have contributed to project failure by reducing the likelihood that all rats would consume sufficient rodent bait or compounding other factors such as rodent breeding. Our analysis highlights that rat eradication can be achieved on tropical islands but suggests that events that cannot be predicted with certainty in some tropical regions can act individually or in concert to reduce the likelihood of project success. We recommend research to determine the relative importance of these factors in the fate of future tropical projects and suggest that existing practices be re-evaluated for tropical island rodent eradications.
Scaling down (cliffs) to meet the challenge: the Shiants’ black rat eradication
Available Online

Bambini, L.

,

Bell, E.

,

Campbell, G.

,

Churchyard, T.

,

Douse, A.

,

Floyd, K.

,

Ibbotson, J.

,

Main, C.E.

,

Nicolson, T.

,

Reid, R.

,

Taylor, P.R.

,

Tayton, J.

,

Varnham, K.

,

Whittington, W.

2019
A successful ground-based eradication of black rats (Rattus rattus) was undertaken on the remote, uninhabited Shiant Isles of north-west Scotland over winter (14 October–28 March) 2015–16. The rat eradication was carried out as part of the Shiants Seabird Recovery Project, which aims to secure long-term breeding habitat for protected seabirds and to attract European storm petrels and Manx shearwaters to nest on the Shiants. Throughout the eradication operation, teams were stationed on two of the three main Shiant islands (Eilean an Tighe, Eilean Mhuire), with access to the third (Garbh Eilean) via a boulder causeway from Eilean an Tighe. Bait (Contrac® blocks containing the anticoagulant bromadiolone 0.005% w/w), was deployed in a grid of 1,183 bait stations covering all areas of the islands and sea stacks. Bait stations were set 50 m apart, with intervals reduced to 25 m in coastal areas of predicted high rat density. Difficult areas were accessed by boat and cliff s of ~120 m in height were accessed by abseiling down ropes made safe using either bolted anchors or ground stakes. The team of staff and volunteers worked through difficult conditions, deploying bait and monitoring intensively for any surviving rats using a combination of tools. The islands were declared rat free in March 2018. This ambitious and challenging project has greatly enhanced UK capacity in rodent eradications for the purposes of conservation.
The Isles of Scilly seabird restoration project: the eradication of brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) from the inhabited islands of St Agnes and Gugh, Isles of Scilly
Available Online

Bell, E.

,

Boyle, D.

,

Buckley, P.

,

Floyd, K.

,

Garratt, W.

,

Lock, L.

,

Mason, S.

,

McCarthy, R.

,

Pearce, J.

,

Pearson, J.

,

St Pierre, P.

,

Sugar, K.

2019
As part of the Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project, and directed by Wildlife Management International Ltd, the eradication of brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) from the inhabited islands of St Agnes & Gugh, Isles of Scilly was completed between October 2013 and April 2014 with the assistance of volunteers, and staff from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and Natural England. Bait stations with cereal-based wax blocks containing bromadiolone at 0.005% w/w were established on a 40–50 metre grid over the island. With the presence of 85 residents on the 142 ha islands, this is the largest community-based brown rat eradication globally to date. Given the fact that a community is based on these islands, community engagement and advocacy was a vital and fundamental part of the eradication. Consultation for eradication began three years prior to the operation to explain the requirements for the proposed project and to assess support, but this built on many years of wider community engagement with seabird conservation. All of the residents supported the eradication of rats and vision of the project. The consultation and inclusion of the community in decision-making and management of the Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project was a critical part of the operation and key to the success of the eradication. The community took ownership of the project and has committed to the on-going biosecurity requirements following the eradication of rats. The removal of brown rats from St Agnes and Gugh was a major achievement and provided the opportunity to restore the islands’ communities of seabirds and other native species. This project provided an example of the effectiveness of ground-based rodent eradication techniques on an inhabited island and the lessons learnt during this operation can be used to help proposed eradications on other islands with communities and with terrain suitable for ground-based techniques.
Rat eradication in the Pitcairn Islands, South Pacific: a 25-year perspective
Available Online

Brooke, M.de L.

2019
This essay offers a 25-year overview of eff orts to remove Pacific rats (Rattus exulans) from the four islands of the Pitcairn group. Following the 1991–1992 discovery that rats were severely reducing breeding success of gadfly petrels (Pterodroma spp.), Wildlife Management International proposed eradication. Eradication success was achieved using ground-based baiting on the small atolls of Ducie and Oeno in 1997, and there is now evidence of petrel recovery on Oeno, but two eradication attempts on inhabited Pitcairn (1997 and 1998) failed. By the early 2000s, the development of aerial baiting through the 1990s placed an eradication operation on the fourth island, Henderson, within reach. Preparatory fieldwork in 2009 allayed doubts in two key areas: the feasibility of maintaining a captive “back-stop” Henderson rail (Porzana atra) population, and bait uptake by crabs (Coenobita spp.). Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) expertise secured the necessary funding of £1.5 million, and 75 tonnes of brodifacoum-containing bait were dropped in August 2011. Despite extensive mortality of free-living rails, the population, supplemented by released captive birds, returned to pre-operational levels in 2–3 years. Meanwhile those tending captive rails saw no rat sign before leaving Henderson in November 2011. Unfortunately, a rat was sighted in March 2012, and continuing rat presence confirmed in May 2012. Subsequently rat numbers have returned to pre-operational levels without any sign of population ‘overshoot’ as observed on Pitcairn. Genetic analysis suggests around 80 rats, roughly 1 in 1,000, survived the bait drop. With no evidence of imperfect bait coverage or deficiencies in bait quality or brodifacoum resistance, it seems some animals chose not to eat bait. Choice tests on Henderson Island rats suggest some rats prefer natural foods over bait. This adverse situation may have been exacerbated because, in August 2011, natural fruits were more abundant than anticipated due to drought earlier in the year. To overcome rat preference for natural food, any second Henderson attempt might benefit from more attractive bait. Without such developments, a second attempt risks another failure. Henderson’s biota will survive the delay.