Coastal Conservation works with Parks Canada and Island Conservation
Everybody on Haida Gwaii has a rat story. And if it’s not a story about a twitchy-nosed, long-tailed, beady-eyed, disgusting little creature raiding the kitchen cupboards of a rustic summer retreat, then it is a story about rats stealing eggs from a chicken coop.
And if it is not a chicken coop, then it is a scene from a seaside campsite, idyllic locales for arm-weary sea kayakers where, come nightfall, the rats of Haida Gwaii — the 18-plus island archipelago off the B.C. coast commonly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands — invariably come out to play.
Rats. Running up one side of her tent. Sliding down the other. How gross is that? Even more foul, however, than any human-rat encounters has been the impact of the rats — Norway rats and ship rats to be precise, originally stowaways that jumped ship, arriving in the area in the 1700s — on native seabirds.
The rats came. Multiplied. And, for dinner, dined out on eggs and chicks, feasting their way through once-abundant species, such as the ancient murrelet.
“The birds didn’t have biological strategies, like nesting in trees, to deal with the rats,” said Ms. Wein. “Langara Island, for example, had the world’s largest colony of ancient murrelets — about 200,000 breeding pairs.
Posted on: May 11, 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