The Lord Howe Island Board has made the decision to proceed to the implementation stage of the Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Project to eradicate invasive rats and mice from World Heritage listed Lord Howe Island.
The island is home to many threatened, endemic and migratory species. Rodents have previously caused extinction of five bird and 13 invertebrate species on the island and currently threaten another 70 species. Eradication of rats and mice will be another significant step for recovery of unique threatened species and the island’s ecosystem following eradication of feral cats, pigs and goats in the 1980s.
The decision by the Board is the result of many years of research, trials and community consultation considering the safety of the island’s people and environment.
“After a comprehensive and rigorous environmental assessment process, and a Human Health Risk Assessment led by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, the Board has made the decision to proceed”, Chair of the Lord Howe Island Board, Sonja Stewart said.
Benefits of the project include:
- Increase in numbers and breeding success for a range of seabirds such as Kermadec petrel, Masked booby and White-bellied storm petrel
- Recovery of endemic ground lizards and invertebrates such as land snails
- Increased seeds and seedlings for numerous plant species including the Critically Endangered Little Mountain Palm
- Reintroduction of the world’s rarest insect, the Lord Howe Island Phasmid
- Long term benefits to tourism and the Island’s economy through improved visitor experience
The project will distribute rodenticide (brodifacoum) in cereal based pellets via helicopter in the uninhabited parts of the island and via hand broadcast and bait stations in the settlement area in winter 2018 (June or July).
The $9.5M Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Project is jointly funded by the NSW Environmental Trust and the Australian Government National Landcare Program and will be implemented through partnerships with the Lord Howe Island Board, the Office of Environment and Heritage and Taronga Conservation Society Australia.
Board CEO, Penny Holloway commented: “The Project will be the single biggest conservation action to date to protect and enhance the World Heritage values of Lord Howe Island.”