Rats Are Finally Gone from This Vulnerable Island
CLIMATEWIRE | Just a year ago, the tiny islet of Irooj in the Marshall Islands was crawling with invasive rats. The hungry rodents had been on the rampage there for decades, gobbling up native seabird eggs and threatening the local biodiversity.
But as of March, the little island has been declared rat-free. That’s thanks to a yearlong campaign to eradicate the rodents and restore the island to its natural condition.
The effort was conducted by the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ Ministry of Natural Resources and Commerce, with help from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, an intergovernmental organization focused on climate and environmental issues on small islands in the Pacific, and nonprofit Island Conservation, which works to remove invasive species from islands around the world.
“The island feels alive again,” said Kennedy Kaneko, the Republic of the Marshall Islands national invasive species coordinator, in a statement. “Careful monitoring showed zero signs of rats on Irooj. In fact, seabirds and crabs were found in abundance.”