UPDATE - Lord Howe Island Rodent Control

To: <>, <>
Subject: UPDATE - Lord Howe Island Rodent Control
From: inger vandyke <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 23:55:31 +0000

Hi All,
I have been following all links to this thread with great interest.
A nice common ground for tourists visiting the island looking for Woodhen 
during the baiting would be to perhaps see the birds (caged) on one of the 
existing guided tours of the island.  At least if they are caged and tourists 
are seeing this, it would be a good platform to educate them into the benefits 
of the program.
I apologise to any twitcher if a caged bird does not constitute a 'tick' in 
their eyes but at least it provides an incentive for them to return and from 
what I understand, the number of animals that will be caged is not the entire 
population anyway.  If a twitcher visiting the island 'dips' on the Woodhen or 
Currawong during their baiting trial trip, then what would they prefer?  An 
island devoid of Woodhen due to rampant environmental mismanagement (where the 
likelihood of seeing Woodhen as a 'tick' is very remote)?  Or an island that 
allows its endemic Woodhen to roam freely, unimpeded by any feral egg 
>From a tourism perspective, engaging visitors in education via a simple tour 
>of the project would be a wonderful way of bolstering support for both Lord 
>Howe's and other island projects.  It is also a good way of showing that Lord 
>Howe island is actively pursuing a comprehensive management strategy of its 
>natural history assets.
Hopefully if the Brodifacoum pellet program is successful, it will inspire the 
constituencies of Australia's other offshore islands to follow suit?
I agree with Simon that it would be useful if the collective knowledge of 
Birding Aus contributors could form a part of the public comment to the 
project.  As people interested in birds, their habitats and conservation, our 
joint knowledge of projects like this might be of vital interest to the program 
co-ordinators during this vital public consultation phase.  It would also be 
nice for a representative of Birds Australia to canvass interest through 
Birding Aus and introduce greater transparency regarding their contribution to 
the program by announcing it here.
I also feel that after this program has taken place, more care has to be given 
about what comes and goes from the island and the methods by which this occurs. 
 The re-introduction of rats and mice to the island after the program is 
completed would be very simple if the Island Trader isn't checked before it 
leaves Yamba to deliver supplies to the island.  It would serve the island well 
if more quarantine staff are on the island to check visiting yachts and flights 
immediately on arrival at Lord Howe.
Australia's Island territories represent some of the most beautiful corners of 
our country.  Ideally eradication programs will preserve each island's natural 
values and longevity.  By doing something about this now, Australia will retain 
the integrity of one of its most spectacular seabird breeding islands and allow 
Lord Howe's long suffering endemic species to survive. 


Inger Vandyke

Natural History Writer and Photographer

Publicity Officer - Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association (SOSSA)

Mob:  0402 286 437

> From: 
> To: 
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] UPDATE - Lord Howe Island Rodent Control
> Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 21:51:45 +1000
> CC: 
> I for one didn't read Simon's email to mean that the plan shouldn't go
> ahead because "hard-core twitchers" will be disappointed! His research
> and comments seemed very favourable to the idea. (correct me if I'm
> wrong Simon)
> Surely Lord Howe Island depends to a large degree on tourism. It's
> natural beauty and the significant appeal of the rare birds (notably
> the woodhen) would be huge drawcards to tourists from all over the
> world and certainly Australia. You don't have to be a hard core
> twitcher to appreciate these things but I can imagine any half
> interested nature lover being a bit disappointed if the islands famous
> bird was locked up when they got there.
> Yes of course the survival of these birds is paramount but Simon's
> comments were about public awareness for an important event which
> hasn't been easily forthcoming. The greater goal of the bird's
> survival is indeed taking precedence (which is fantastic) but there
> could be serious implications to tourism if no-one knew about it til
> they got there.
> Cheers
> David Stowe
> On 29/06/2009, at 6:46 PM, Ross Macfarlane wrote:
> At risk of upsetting the hard-core twitchers, I must express the view 
> that "potentially serious direct consequences for birding and birders
> both in Australia and visiting from overseas", of the woodhens'
> temporary removal from the wild, should be a lower-order issue against 
> the conservation benefits to the woodhens's survival. Fair enough,
> birders should be let know if & when it's happening, but upsetting
> their travel plans shouldn't be a reason not to proceed. The greater
> goal of the birds' survival would take precedence.
> In my opinion... :-)
> Ross Macfarlane

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