One step closer to a rat-free island in Palmerston

The Palmerston Island community are in unanimous agreement to rid their island of rats. They have begun executing a number of tasks to ensure that risks to the success of the eradication are adequately managed.
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The feasibility report for the eradication of rats in Palmerston was recently released by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC). Feedback from the DOC Island Eradication Advisory Group show the eradication project is indeed feasible if appropriate measures are undertaken to manage risks.

Mr. Emmanuel Oyston, from the National Eradication Team at DOC, led the feasibility study trip to Palmerston in November 2022, where a team from NES, MOA, TIS and members of the Palmerston Island community used non-toxic bait to determine the presence and population of rats on several of Palmerston’s motus. Data gathered during this trip was instrumental to the development of the feasibility report.

“The feasibility study reviews why the eradication is being done; whether it is achievable; sustainable and acceptable; and identifies what the key issues and dependencies are; and proposes the next steps if the project is to proceed. It clearly identifies the key dependencies and planning issues that need to be addressed to have the best chance of succeeding”, said Oyston.

The Palmerston Island community are in unanimous agreement to rid their island of rats. They have begun executing a number of tasks to ensure that risks to the success of the eradication are adequately managed. Several notable measures include managing alternate food sources for rats such as proper waste management and removal of crops which may otherwise serve as a food source to the rats, and the culling of pigs and wild chickens to limit non-target consumption of rat bait or poisoned rat carcasses. Led by the Island Government, the community are undertaking great efforts to ensure that the eradication planned for July/August 2023 will be successful.

To read more about the findings of the project feasibility report, click here.

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The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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