Poison drops kill island’s rats, marine impact monitored

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii’s plan to eradicate a small island’s rat infestation via air drops of poison has worked, with no signs of negative impact on marine life, a conservation official said.

Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project worker Andre Raine was on Lehua Island in late September and saw the island buzzing with seabird chicks — and not one live rat, the Garden Island reported .

The recovery project workers are tasked with monitoring the crescent-shaped 279-acre (113-hectare) island in wake of the airdrops that finished on Sept. 12. Monitoring will continue for a year and then there will be an in-depth project to assess whether or not there are rats still living on the island.

“We have many years of data now from pre-rat eradication that we can compare in subsequent years to look at the overall effectiveness of the rat eradication project,” Raine said. “I am really excited to see what it is going to look like in years ahead.”

Before the drops, there were concerns that the poison would impact marine life. The concerns came from a similar eradication attempt in 2009, which was followed by a fish die-off in the area shortly after. But state officials said that die-off wasn’t due to the eradication attempt.

This time around, three drops were completed in August and September. Ten tons of the bait laced with poison was dropped.


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