Wednesday 3 April 2019

Cull invasive mammals to save island species, experts urge

Move ‘would save 10% of all endangered birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles’

Wed 27 Mar 2019 18.00 GMT

Nearly 10% of the world’s bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile species currently on the brink of extinction could be saved by killing invasive mammals such as cats and rats on 169 islands, according to a new study.

Islands comprise just 5.3% of the Earth’s landmass yet have experienced 75% of known bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile extinctions since 1500. More than a third of species currently classified as “critically endangered” on the IUCN Red List are found on islands, with many particularly vulnerable to just eight species – including feral pigs, dogs, goats and mongooses – introduced by humans.

Research published in the journal Plos One identifies the disproportionate impact programmes to remove non-native species from islands can have in slowing the global rate of extinction.

“Eradicating invasive mammals from islands is a powerful way to remove a key threat to island species and prevent extinctions and conserve biodiversity,” said lead author Dr Nick Holmes of Island Conservation.

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