VIDEO: Eradication of invasive rats succeeds in ecological restoration of Hawaiian island

Operations by Island Conservation to restore seabird and native plant habitat on Hawaii‘s Lehua Island are now complete.

Watch the Lehua Island documentary (link below) to learn more about this exciting restoration project.

As reported earlier here in REVITALIZATION, Lehua Island, Hawai’i is home to one of the largest and most diverse seabird breeding colonies in the main Hawaiian Islands. However, attempts by the ESA Threatened (IUCN Endangered) Newell’s Shearwater to establish a breeding colony on Lehua have failed since the introduction of non-native, damaging (invasive) predators. Following the removal of invasive rats, Lehua Island can become a key breeding site and the largest invasive mammal-free habitat for this highly imperiled seabird.

The island’s plant community experienced a reprieve when invasive rabbits were removed from Lehua in 2006 by a partnership including the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Tropical Botanical Gardens, and Island Conservation; however, rats continue to threaten the island’s plants through herbivory and seed predation. High offshore islands like Lehua are critically important to the long-term conservation of threatened species in Hawai‘i as they are less likely to be affected by increases in sea level associated with climate change.

Watch 2-minute video.

You must be logged in to post a comment