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Posted Fri Jan 15 2010: from London Independent:
42 tons of poison to purge island of rats
Lord Howe, an idyllic island off the Australian mainland, carefully conserves its natural treasures. The World Heritage-listed chunk of rock has strict quarantine laws, and limits the number of tourists who may visit. But its unique birds, insects and plants are under threat from an implacable foe: the black rat. Accidentally introduced in 1918 when a ship ran aground, rats are blamed for the extinction of five endemic bird species. Wildlife experts warn that 13 other native birds, two reptiles, five plants and numerous invertebrates are at risk. Rats are also a threat to the vital tourism industry, which relies on the island's pristine image.... Stephen Wills, chief executive of the Lord Howe Board, which administers the island as part of New South Wales, agrees that the plan -- which involves dropping nearly 42 tons of poison-laced bait from helicopters -- is radical. But there is no other option, he believes.
[Read more stories about: contamination, ecosystem interrelationships, massive die-off, invasive species, unintended consequences]

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