DLNR: Rat poison working on Lehua Island, more baiting to come - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

DLNR: Rat poison working on Lehua Island, more baiting to come

(Image: Dept. of Land and Natural Resources) (Image: Dept. of Land and Natural Resources)
(Image: DLNR) (Image: DLNR)
State officials say the poison pellets are mostly non-toxic. (Image: DLNR) State officials say the poison pellets are mostly non-toxic. (Image: DLNR)
LEHUA ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources completed a second round of baiting Lehua Island with rat poison via helicopter Wednesday.

Conservation staff have monitored the island since the first poison drop one week ago, and report that there are no negative impacts to endangered sea birds or aquatic life.

"We regularly walk the shoreline and spend quite a bit of time under the waves making observations. So far all we have seen is healthy and vibrant sea life," Mele Khalsa, an island restoration specialist said.

Concerns were raised over such eradication methods in the past. Opponents say the pencil eraser-looking bait gets into the ocean, causing the death of fish and other sea animals.

State officials say there is no correlation between previous incidents of poison drops and aquatic life deaths. Officials also say the poison is only .005 percent toxic, and poses little risk to seabirds and the environment. 

Since the first drop, inspectors on the island have found a "significant number" of dead rats, and a decrease in birds deaths. 

The overall goal of the project is to eradicate the seabird sanctuary of the invasive rodents.

A third and final baiting is scheduled for the second weekend in September.

Lehua Island is one of the largest and most diverse seabird colonies in Hawaii, with 17 seabird species and 25 native plants.

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