Black Oystercatcher Hatching from Island Conservation on Vimeo.
This video was recorded at Rat Island, Alaska.
Alaska’s Rat Island rat-free after 229 years
Fri Jun 12, 2009
By Yereth Rosen
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, June 12 – Alaska’s Rat Island is finally rat-free, 229 years after a Japanese shipwreck spilled rampaging rodents onto the remote Aleutian island, decimating the local bird population.
After dropping poison onto 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 U.S. 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 $2.5 million Rat Island eradication project, a joint effort between the U.S. 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 oystercatchers, are starting to nest again on the 10-square-mile (26-sq-km) 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.
Lord Howe Island in the Pacific plans to eradicate rats in a radical programme where entire species of native wildlife would be held in captivity for their own protection and cows and chickens slaughtered or shipped to the mainland: here.
Rats in India: here.
America’s Arctic – including the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Arctic Ocean, and special places in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska like Teshekpuk Lake – is one of the world’s most dynamic, intact ecosystems.
Urge President Obama to protect America’s Arctic for future generations.
Last year, there were more than 90 oil spills per day in the United States.
Isn’t it finally time to protect the treasures of America’s Arctic from destructive drilling?
Click here to sign our petition to President Obama.
If you’re like me, you breathed a big sigh of relief on January 20, 2009, when the most environmentally hostile president in modern memory boarded his last flight out of Washington.
The Bush administration opened the lands and waters of America’s Arctic with such speed that Big Oil’s drills couldn’t keep pace – now companies like Shell are doing their best to catch up. While the bad administration is gone, their bad policies are still in place.
America’s Arctic, which includes the iconic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, is our nation’s only Arctic ecosystem. It supports America’s entire population of polar bears, roaming caribou herds, and millions of birds that migrate there from every state in the U.S. and across the world.
We need President Obama to act to protect the lands and waters of America’s Arctic, before Big Oil starts drilling!
Sign our petition to President Obama. America’s Arctic deserves protection.
America’s Arctic includes three key conservation areas that are vital pieces of our nation’s natural heritage:
* Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – You know all about this special place. Caribou still roam free in this majestic area, but climate change is hitting it hard. Advocates like you and me protected the Arctic Refuge from unrelenting attacks and multi-million dollar lobbying blitzes during the Bush years – now’s the time to ensure it is given the strongest protection possible.
* America’s Arctic Ocean – These are the Polar Bear Seas – the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. All of America’s polar bears live here along with endangered bowhead whales, and much more. Big Oil wants to drill offshore here, despite the dire risk of oil spills that can’t be cleaned up with current technologies.
* National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska – What a terrible name for a pristine wilderness area. Can you imagine if Yosemite were called ‘Big Oil’s Playground?’ Caribou herds also roam here and hundreds of bird species from every U.S. state and across the world congregate at Teshekpuk Lake in the Reserve every summer.
Isn’t it finally time to protect these treasures of America’s Arctic from destructive drilling? These are shared American lands and waters that belong to us all. We have a duty to protect them for future generations.
Click here to sign our petition to President Obama.
This fragile ecosystem is already feeling the effects of climate change more than anywhere else, so there’s no time to waste. We must do away with the Bush administration’s policies once and for all, and make sure President Obama knows that we won’t surrender our Arctic treasure for the wealth of a few.
Thank you for all that you do,
Alaska Wilderness League
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