Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication

To: "" <>
Subject: Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication
From: Ian Wilkinson <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 14:22:08 +1000
Hi All

The Lord Howe Island Board are planning to eradicate rodents (Black Rat and 
Mice) from Lord Howe Island using aerial baiting of brodifacoum in non settled 
parts of the island and hand broadcast & bait stations in settled areas. The 
proposal draws heavily on experience gained in more than 300 successful rodent 
eradications around the world. An eradication plan has been developed by the 
Lord Howe Island Board in partnership with scientists from the NSW Department 
of Environment and Climate Change experienced in the eradication of rodents 
from islands. The plan details why, when and how an eradication would be 
conducted and how the risks to non-targets will be mitigated. The plan has been 
peer reviewed by experts in several highly reputable international agencies, 
and will shortly go on public display.

Both rats and mice have had, and continue to have, significant adverse impacts 
on the biodiversity of LHI. Rats are implicated in the extinction of at least 
five endemic bird taxa (species or subspecies), and at least 11 species of 
endemic invertebrates. Rats are recognised as an ongoing threat to at least 13 
bird species, two reptiles, 49 flowering plants, 12 vegetation communities, and 
numerous threatened invertebrates, many of which are endemic to LHI. Predation 
by ship rats on LHI is listed as a Key Threatening Process under both New South 
Wales (NSW) state and Australian Government legislation. Consequently, the 
environmental benefits of eradication to Lord Howe Island are significant. 
Eradication of rodents will facilitate the natural re-establishment of Kermadec 
Petrel and White bellied Storm Petrel on the main island and will make it 
possible to contemplate the re-introduction of ecologically equivalent 
subspecies of several extinct species (eg Grey Fantail, Island Gerygone and Red 
fronted Parakeet). The reduced rodent impacts on invertebrates, seeds and 
seedlings will also increase food availability for birds on the island and 
improve the natural regeneration of bushland.

While the benefits of eradication are great, examining the potential impacts of 
toxic baits on non-target species is also an important component of eradication 
planning. Both the endemic woodhen and currawong have been identified as being 
at risk from primary and secondary poisoning during such an operation. To 
mitigate this risk birds from both species will be held in captivity, on the 
island, during the eradication and until there is no further risk posed by the 
toxin. All captive husbandry will be managed by experienced aviculturists, and 
captive trials will be held in advance of the eradication to finalise captive 
management protocols.

Prior to an eradication being conducted on the island, or birds being held in 
captivity for risk mitigation, approvals will be required in terms of both NSW 
and Australian government environmental legislation.

Should you have any questions regarding this proposal you can contact Hank 
Bower or Ian Wilkinson on contact details below.

Hank Bower

Acting Manager Environment/World Heritage

Lord Howe Island Board

PO Box 5 Lord Howe Island

NSW 2898

ph: 02 6563 2066

fax: 02 6563 2127

email: <>

Dr Ian Wilkinson
Project Officer" lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication
Threatened Fauna Ecology
Department of Environment and Climate Change
Locked Bag 914
NSW 2450
Tel: 02-66598271
Fax: 02-66516187

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