South Georgia Island (population 20), due east off the tip of South America, had no rodents until 18th-century sailing ships accidentally introduced them. After seven years of work, the island is now rodent-free, allowing native birds to recover.
This past winter, a survey team, dubbed “Team Rat”, canvassed more than 1,500 sites in search of rodents. The group deployed thousands of peanut butter-coated chew sticks, camera traps and tracking tunnels, according to New Scientist. Three sniffer dogs also walked hundreds of miles to check for rodent activity.
No signs were found, marking the first time in roughly 250 years that the island has been free of mice and rats.
Restoration project director Dickie Hall tells Amos that he’s confident in the team’s findings. “Dogs have an incredible sense of smell,” says Hall. “They can detect rodent scent from several meters, or even tens of meters if conditions are right.”
More than 30 different species of birds live on the island, including penguins and albatross. Most of these creatures nest on the ground or in burrows since there are no trees—but this leaves their nests vulnerable to rodent predators, reports Harvey.
• South Georgia Island Is Officially Free of Its Bird-Killing Rodents (Smithsonian)
Image: Steve Herring
Twenty-five experts have issued a warning about the potentially cataclysmic consequences of the rapidly shrinking insect population, reports The Guardian. In a two-part article for Biological Conservation, the scientists wrote: “The current [insect] extinction crisis is deeply worrisome. Yet, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg.We know enough to act immediately. Solutions […]
Scientists say 20.75º C logged at Seymour Island is ‘incredible and abnormal’
Snowfall in Baghdad, for the second time in a decade. What a strange sight.
Yoga studios are closed nationwide. The irony is that between the anxieties of the outside world and those popping up inside your very own home with everyone trapped indoors, there’s probably never been a time where yoga’s calming zen was more vital and needed. Rather than just throwing in the yoga mat and subjecting family […]
The workers aren’t inside their physical business space anymore. So why should business technology still be under that roof either? In fact, more and more businesses have been making this migration for a while now, moving all their digital infrastructure to the world’s two largest cloud services platforms, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure. […]
Gather round, young and old — and hear tales of bygone days. Back in olden times, citizens would mass at a house of coffee, wherein skilled java alchemists would concoct special blends and apply artisanal wizardry to make each steaming chalice an appointment for the taste buds. Granted, said wizards, once known as baristas, were […]