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.
For wine lovers around the world, it’s all about discovery. Once they get a taste for the grape, oenophiles are rarely satisfied with even the most carefully curated, go-to vintages. There’s always a hunt for the next great pairing, the thrill of uncorking a bold new Tempranillo or sublime Moscato. That feeling is a jones […]
These toys and games can keep the kids busy while you’re all trapped inside. As rough as all this time cooped up inside the house is on us adults, it’s even worse for kids. All that borderline maniacal energy along with an unquenchable thirst for stimulation and attention make home sequestration like a life sentence […]
Python is everywhere. Just look under the hood of virtually every major tech player of the 21st century and you’re likely to find a whole lot of Python-based coding language staring back at you. Case in point: Netflix. You may not know it, but from its security protocols to its much-hyped recommendations, it turns out […]