Related News

Home » World

Rat plague eradicated from Alaskan island

ALASKA'S Rat Island is finally rat-free - 229 years after a Japanese shipwreck spilled rampaging rodents on to the remote Aleutian island, destroying the local bird population.

After dropping poison on to the island from helicopter-hoisted buckets for a week and a half last autumn, there are no signs of living rats and some birds have returned, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rats have ruled the island since 1780, when they jumped off a sinking Japanese ship and terrorized all but the largest birds on the island. The incident introduced the non-native Norway rat, also known as the brown rat, to Alaska.

The US$2.5 million Rat Island eradication project, a joint effort between the US federal government, the Nature Conservancy and Island Conservation, is one of the world's most ambitious attempts to remove destructive alien species from an island.

Now there are signs that several species of birds, including Aleutian cackling geese, ptarmigan, peregrine falcons and black oyster°?catchers, are starting to nest again on the 26-square-°?kilometer island.

It is too soon to say that Rat Island is definitively rat-free, however. That can only be established after at least two years of monitoring, said Bruce Woods, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage.

"We don't know that there's not a couple of happy rats hiding away that are going to spring out and repopulate the island," he said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend