Friday, November 16, 2012

Rats and the Galapagos Islands

It seems that cities aren't the only ones dealing with problems with rat infestations.  The Galapagos Islands, mostly uninhabited by humans has seen a serious rat population explosion.  If you remember your history lessons, the Galapagos are a series of 19 islands off Ecuador that are home to unique species of animals and plants and was the basis for Charles Darwin's Origin of Species.
The Norway Black rats were introduced to the islands by whalers and buccaneer's in the 17th century and eat the eggs and hatchlings of the animals including tortoises, snakes, iguanas, lizards, birds and iguanas.
The rats reproduce every three months and have caused major destruction. There are over 180 millions rats on the islands. Authorities are dropping over 22 tons of specially designed poison on the island, designed to kill invasive species. The poisoned bait was made by Bell Laboratories and is made into small blue cubes that will attract the rats and repulse other species.  The bait is designed to cause the rats's corpses to decompose and disintegrate in 8 days.
In preparation, authorities have trapped hawks and will keep them in captivity until January when it will be safe for them to enter the island again and not be poisoned by the dead rats.
It is a multi-phased project with this phase calling 1.8 million dollars.

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