The start of rat eradication on Reunion!
Since May, SEOR workers have been advising volunteers during working parties aimed on how to eradicate rats from the Reunion Cuckooshrike’s habitat.
Action taken prior to Life BIODIV’OM
In 2018 a hundred or so volunteers aged between 18 and 70 came to help SEOR teams. Thanks to the work of working parties over three years in the Roche-Ecrite forest the Cuckooshrike population, estimated at 37 pairs in 2018 produced 25 chicks during the 2018-19 season.
The impact of rats
Black and Brown Rats are invasive non-native species that were introduced by man. Present on more than 90% of the island, the rats have a considerable impact on the populations of not only marine birds but also plants, invertebrates, ground-dwelling reptiles and insects. Omnivorous and with a great capacity for adapting to new environments, the rats are a real threat to bird populations as they predate eggs, juveniles and in some cases even adults and can thus bring certain species to extinction.
The rat eradication method
The method of protecting the Tuit-tuit is by renewing rat poison in some 30 bait sites. These sites, placed 30 metres apart, usually off trails, need to be inspected frequently by the teams. At each inspection a member of SEOR staff replaces the rat poison whilst the volunteers use catapults to distribute poison in the area in order to extend the protected zone.
A promising start
Since September 2018 rat eradication work has been done within the framework of the Life BIODIV’OM program. More than 40 people have already participated and helped SEOR staff during working parties designed to protect the Tuit-tuit. The SEOR is still actively looking for more volunteers to help during working parties. You can contact them at the following address if interested: firstname.lastname@example.org or sign-up on their site: https://doodle.com/poll/rr2y8cy3g9dyd4wx