Arichika Island declared rat-free!
Arichika Island, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, a once highly productive seabird colony and important cultural resource that was devastated for years by introduced invasive rats, was been declared rat-free by Parks Canada Agency on April 15, 2015.
The ecosystem is recovering thanks to a restoration project implemented by the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada in collaboration with Coastal Conservation and other international partners experienced in island restoration and invasive species removals.
Invasive species are the number one threat to the ecological and cultural heritage of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. According to traditional knowledge, the Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus; SG̱in X̱aana or “night bird” in the Haida language) was once abundant on Arichika Island and was an important seasonal food source for the Haida.
Since the completion of rat eradication work in 2011, signs of ecological recovery have become evident. The Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) population, a species that acts as a sentinel for changes in coastal ecosystem health, has shown an increase in the number of nests and successfully reared chicks. Another native species, the Dusky shrew (Sorex monticolus), has dramatically increased in numbers since invasive rats were removed; their population is now similar to those on rat-free islands.
The restoration of Arichika Island was part of the first phase of SG̱in X̱aana Sdiihltl’lx̱a: Night Birds Returning, a partnership between Parks Canada Agency, the Haida Nation, and island restoration experts from around the world including Coastal Conservation. The success of this project has resulted in the development of other restoration projects in Canada that are focused on eliminating or reducing impacts from invasive species on island ecosystems.
Posted on: May 12, 2015
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Coastal Conservation is comprised of staff and technical advisors with significant expertise in biological systems and invasive species eradications around the world.Read More