To return the island to its natural state, a $3 million rat eradication project has been underway since September with great success. Several conservation groups and research teams have been involved with the effort, which has been funded primarily by private donations. While more than 250 birds have also been killed by the poison used to eradicate the rats, including 43 bald eagles, those are small numbers compared to the benefits of eliminating the rats. The Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the spread of the poison to determine why so many birds were killed.
Several bird species, including black oystercatchers, ptarmigan and peregrine falcons have already returned to nesting on the island. It is hoped that the island will now be able to be returned to its Aleut name, Howadax, or “welcome,” as more birds feel welcome to nest.
Do you agree with rat eradication projects on islands that are important nesting areas for seabirds? Share your thoughts in the comment!
Photo © Chuck Abbe, Nine Sisters Photography