An External Review Is Complete
An external review commissioned by the Rat Island Seabird Habitat Restoration partnership evaluates non-target mortality associated with the restoration project. The 85-page review was prepared by The Ornithological Council. Learn More.
Bringing Back the Birds!
Rat Island Is Officially Rat-Free!
Read the August 30, 2010 Press Release.
The Nature Conservancy, the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, and Island Conservation are restoring native seabird habitat on an island in the Aleutian chain of Alaska. Rat Island has been heavily affected by the introduction of non-native Norway rats from a shipwreck in the 1780s. In the intervening 225 years, bird populations have essentially been destroyed on the island.
Successfully eradicating the invasive rats will restore important habitat and allow birds to re-colonize the island. With seabirds facing environmental pressure from stressors such as global climate change, removing this predator is an immediate and concrete step that we hope will show a rapid and positive effect on seabird nesting success.
Seabirds and Biodiversity
The Aleutian Islands support globally significant seabird populations and supply some of the finest seabird habitat in the world. Its spectacular biodiversity was formally recognized when it was named a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1976.
The restoration of Rat Island habitat will benefit many species. This list includes Tufted puffins, ancient murrelets, storm petrels, song sparrows, glaucous-winged gulls, and possibly whiskered auklets and Cassin's auklets.
This is the beginning of a restoration effort that can restore habitat on other islands in the Aleutians, too. Rat populations menace native species on about a dozen large islands in the Aleutians. Future projects may include restoring habitat on the larger Kiska Island, where an expanding rat population threatens a still-healthy nesting population of 1.5 million least auklets – the largest colony of its kind in Alaska.
The conservation partnership manages www.seabirdrestoration.org to help serve the media, which have taken such an interest in this project. Other visitors may wish to visit the home pages of the partners by clicking on the logos above.