Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Hunt for Few Remaining Rats on Lehua Island
By News Release @ 3:42 PM :: 4103 Views :: Kauai County, Environment

RAT-DETECTING DOGS JOIN LEHUA ISLAND RESTORATION PROJECT PARTNERSHIP

Localized Treatments Continue after a few rats caught on camera

News Release from DLNR April 5, 2018

(LIHUE, KAUA’I) – Monitoring teams are observing more albatross on Lehua Island than they have in a long time. There’s also no sign of rats consuming plants or seabird eggs, something that was commonplace a year ago. These are exactly the kind of early indicators project partners might hope to see – signs of a recovering island ecosystem, due to the removal of introduced, damaging (invasive) rats. But there is still work to do!

The Lehua Island Restoration Project Partnership is working hard to finish the ambitious operation initiated in 2017 to rid the island of predatory rats. Recently, remote, motion-activated monitoring camera ‘traps’ picked up three images of what are believed to be two or three rats on the steep and rocky cliff areas on the West and East sides of the island. Analysis of images show definitive proof of one rat; the other two are partial images that experts confidently believe to be rats.

For decades, invasive rats were having an ecosystem-wide impact on Lehua by consuming native plant seeds and preying on seabird chicks, eggs, and adults. In fall 2017, project partners applied a conservation bait to the island containing the rodenticide diphacinone to protect native species that depend on Lehua Island by removing invasive rats.

The project partners’ operational plans identified and explained that aerial application of rodenticide should result in complete eradication, and that on-the-ground spot treatments may be needed if rats are detected post aerial application. Spot treatments consist of hand placed traps and/or bait stations deployed in the areas with recent sightings. The bait stations are enclosed containers that permit rat access but prevent the low risk of exposure to non-target species like the islands nesting seabirds.

In their latest move to assist in removing the remaining rats, the Project Partners have recruited rat-detection dogs to join the team. The dogs will be deployed over the next two months. Similar, specially trained dogs have proven to be extremely successful in finding their targets as evidenced by their recent use to detect avian botulism at the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Once the scent is identified, the handlers then help the dogs pinpoint the precise areas where rats are located. The dogs are trained and handled to minimize their interactions with native birds.

Since Lehua Island is relatively easy to access, the project team has been deploying an unprecedentedly high level of post-project monitoring. Every month since the rodenticide application last fall, a team from Island Conservation and DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and other partner organizations return to Lehua to monitor progress, retrieve photos from dozens of camera traps to search for rats, and to apply spot treatments and trapping aimed at eliminating any remaining rats. More remote projects often must wait a full year or two before more cost-prohibitive monitoring begins. Dr. Patty Baiao of Island Conversation explained, “Perhaps those hundreds of successful but more remote projects too had a few lingering rodents that, due to their inability to find each other and breed, naturally expired. Regardless, the project team is not taking any chances. We want nothing more than to document with scientific rigor the anecdotal seabird increases and benefits we have already begun to observe.”

Sheri S. Mann, Kaua‘i branch manager for the DOFAW commented, “A few rats remain. Of that we are certain, and the partnership is investigating why.  In the meantime, we are implementing strategies designed for this scenario. We are committed to protect and enhance the seabird colonies on Lehua Island and will not rest until we have. As we double down our efforts using the best science, methods, and now specially trained dogs to achieve a complete eradication, our hope is only rivaled by our shared commitment.”

---30---

HD video: Lehua Island Rapid Assessment Team (1-2-18)

(All video and images courtesy: DLNR)

Related:

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT