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• What if the scientists are wrong? • Consider the facts on Lehua Island eradication
What if the scientists are wrong?
People on the Westside as well as other parts of the island have sincere concerns regarding the dropping of rat poison from a helicopter onto Lehua. They worry about the impact on the marine environment as well as on other living things.
However, Allan Parachini (TGI, Aug. 13) seems to trivialize their concerns by referring to “anti-science elements” and a “panic-committed dynamic.” The whole problem is just that the Department of Land and Natural Resources didn’t explain it right!
According to Mr. Parachini, the poison drop didn’t work in 2009 because Lehua received more rain than usual so the rats had plenty to eat and didn’t bother with the poison pellets. He states: “Scientists simply didn’t adequately anticipate that.”
People are now concerned about what things that the scientists might not “adequately anticipate” in 2017. Suzanne Case, head of DLNR, has signed off on this endeavor. If there are unanticipated consequences which result in damage to the marine environment, she should be expected to tender her resignation.
Linda Estes, Koloa
Consider the facts on Lehua Island rat eradication plan
Thank you Allan Parachini for your excellent summary regarding the unfortunate controversy surrounding the Lehua rat eradication program (TGI Forum, Aug. 13). As Allan points out, a little education of the non-scientific public is in order.
In addition to Palmyra Atoll as described by Allan, rat eradication by aerial bombardment has been carried out with resounding success on some of the most ecologically sensitive islands in the world. These include the Galapagos Islands (e.g., Pinzon Island), South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic, and Macquarie Island in Australia.
In all cases, remarkable regeneration of native flora and fauna has been noted within a very short time span with little or no effect on non-target species. Perhaps most notable is the return of the giant tortoise, once extinct in the wild, to Pinzon. A similar program is awaiting implementation on Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage Site in Australia with a resident human population.
Anti-coagulant rat poisons such as those that will be used on Lehua are regularly used on Kauai by home owners and businesses and are available at Home Depot and most hardware stores. Rats thus poisoned desiccate (dry up) in about a week and are rendered unappetizing to predators. The concentration of poison in rat bait that will be used on Lord Howe is 20 ppm (.02 g/kg). Assuming a similar amount for the Lehua project, this translates into 0.4 lbs of actual rotenticide in 10 tons of bait.
I would hope that a little scientific education would go a long way in abating the concerns of certain members of the general public, and our state Rep. Dee Morikawa. Perhaps the DNLR should have provided a little more background and specificity on the Lehua proposal.
Robin Clark, Kalaheo
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