Friday, 5 July 2013

South Georgia rat removal hits milestone

By Melissa HogenboomScience reporter, BBC News

The world's largest rat eradication campaign has now laid toxic bait on a further 580 sq km of South Georgia, reaching its target.

These poisonous pellets have now been spread on 70% of the rat-infested island.

First introduced on sealing and whaling ships in the late 18th Century, millions of invasive rats have long been a threat to local wildlife.

The team is confident they will eradicate the rodents within two years.

South Georgia is famous for its rich wildlife but as sailors plundered the ocean for seals and whales, they unknowingly brought with them the common brown rat.

The unwelcome visitors multiplied quickly as they bred and for over 200 years have feasted on the chicks and eggs of ground-nesting seabirds, which include ducks, diving petrels and prions.

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