Wildlife recovering on Caribbean Dog Island

This video is called Connecting the Caribbean with Seabird Conservaton.

From Wildlife Extra:

Wildlife recovering on rat-free Caribbean island

Bird numbers and other wildlife populations are starting to recover on Dog Island in Anguilla in the Caribbean, following an intensive five-month programme to eradicate black rats and two years of careful monitoring.

Covering 207 hectares, the island is the largest Caribbean island to be successfully cleared of non-native rats to protect the island’s threatened wildlife.

Dog Island is an internationally-recognised Important Bird Area, with over 100,000 pairs of nesting seabirds. It also supports lizards found nowhere else on earth and endangered sea turtles, which nest on the island’s white sandy beaches.

However prior to November 2011 the island was also infested with thousands of invasive, non-native black rats, which caused severe damage by suppressing native flora and preying on eggs, chicks, and other animals.

The eradication took place between November 2011 and March 2012 and was a collaborative initiative among the Anguilla National Trust, the Government of Anguilla (Department of Environment), Fauna & Flora International, the RSPB, and the island’s owner– the Anguilla Development Company.

“The volunteer team and I spent eleven weeks camping on Dog Island to complete the black rat eradication, working long hours in hot and difficult conditions. As I am sure all of the volunteers will agree, one of the worst parts of the project was having to cut tracks through nearly 30 hectares of manchineel,” said Elizabeth (Biz) Bell, Senior Ecologist from Wildlife Management International Ltd. “Despite this, it was fantastic to live and work amongst the native species such as ground and tree lizards, frigatebirds, boobies and tropicbirds that the project was working to protect. It was a real pleasure to return to the island this February to confirm that the project was a success and see species beginning to recover already.”

The last rat was removed on 18th March 2012. However it is international practice only to declare an island rat-free after two years have elapsed since the last rat was detected.

See also here.

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New Caribbean seabird study

This video is called Connecting the Caribbean with Seabird Conservaton.

From BirdLife:

Caribbean Seabird Conservation: new study begins!

Fri, Jul 19, 2013

A two-year study has begun to identify important feeding areas for a range of Caribbean seabird species on the UK Overseas Territories of Anguilla and British Virgin Islands (BVI). The study will use GPS technology to track Brown Boobies and Sooty Terns and Magnificent Frigatebirds on Dog Island, Anguilla and Magnificent Frigatebirds on Great Tobago IBA in the British Virgin Islands. This follows on from pilot work in 2012 where 20 Brown Boobies were tracked on Dog Island, and found to travel up to 300 km in a round trip!

Dog Island is an Important Bird and BiodiversityArea (IBA) and the second most important site for seabirds in the Caribbean, hosting four globally important populations (> 1 % of the total global population), despite its small size of just 2 km2. Dog Island and Great Tobago support two of the four Magnificent Frigatebird colonies in the area. In 2012, sixty birds were recorded dead at the Great Tobago colony due to entanglement with monofilament fishing line. Local partners with support from the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) are removing line from the existing trees and it is hoped that tracking may help to identify areas where the birds are encountering the fishing line and explore solutions.

The work will provide new information on these species’ feeding ecology and help to identify important feeding areas, which can inform marine planning in the area. Potential threats to seabirds in Anguilla and BVI will also be identified, and long-term local seabird monitoring programmes established with local partners.

The project is being implemented by The University of Liverpool, The RSPB, Anguilla National Trust, the BVI National Parks Trust and Jost van Dykes Preservation Society and is funded by Defra’s Darwin Plus Scheme. Please see http://www.caribbeanseabirds.org.uk/ for further updates!

Authors: Louise Soanes and Jonathan Green, University of Liverpool and Jenny Bright, RSPB.