HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Jamie Lee
Rats will be studied on an uninhabited Hawaiian island.
From September 14 to 28, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), Island Conservation (IC),
and a group of interested stakeholders will study the introduced population of Pacific rats on Lehua, an island just north of Niihau.
The study will involve non-toxic rat pellets containing dye, allowing biologists to determine which animals eat the pellets. Following the application of rodent pellets, surveyors will determine the quantity of pellets consumed in given locations over time. This will allow for estimates of the rat population to be made within the survey area.
Invasive rats on Lehua are putting the island's population of seabirds, native plants, and threatened or endangered species at risk. The rats are known to prey on nesting birds, eggs, and chicks, and eat the seeds, bark, leaves, and new shoots of plants.
Results of the study will help the DOFAW and partners determine what actions, if any, should be taken to further protect Lehua's native plants and animals.