Something marvelous is happening in Gwaii Hanaas, Haida Gwaii. It is a conservation endeavor that could grace the classrooms of the elite business schools and their best practice curriculum.
In 1774, Ferdinand Juan Perez first met the Haida and despite tumultuous beginnings, post contact trade rapidly expanded — extirpating the sea otter from the archipelago and introducing rats. Centuries later, these seemingly isolated biological events have become amplified, conferring a huge shift within the ecosystem’s bio-diversity. The loss of sea otters has meant the vast kelp forests that nurtured an array of juvenile species have all but disappeared, savagely consumed by an exploding sea urchin population free from predation. Above the tide line, the introduction of rats has meant that many of the archipelago’s islands that once teamed with raucous sea bird colonies have fallen silent as the rat population expanded on a rich diet of eggs, chicks and even adults.
This summer, ecosystem reparations are being paid, for an eclectic collection of First Nations, government agencies, corporations, international non-profits and philanthropists have come to dispatch the invasive rat from select islands within the archipelago. It is a multi-year project that started several years ago with the visionary goal of restoring seabird colonies, in particular those of Ancient Murrelets, of which half the global population breeds only in Haida Gwaii. This diminutive and wizened-looking little seabird whose numbers have been in such substantive decline that it is now considered a Species-at-Risk in Canada is the poster child in the battle to save ecosystems from the deleterious consequences of invasive species. The Haida nation, Parks Canada, Island Conservation, Coastal Conservation, the U.S. government agency NOAA with financial support from Parks Canada, North American philanthropists, and the Luckenbach Trustee Council — which represents a collection of U.S. conservation focussed agencies, have all joined forces to mount an active eradication program to rid the rats from two areas within the archipelago.
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