Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Friday, 15 August 2014

Alien mammal eradication and quarantine on inhabited islands in the Seychelles

Mertori, D., Climo, G., Laboudallon, V., Robert, S., & Mander, C. (2002). Alien mammal eradication and quarantine on inhabited islands in the Seychelles. In Veitch, C. R., & Clout, M. N. (2002). Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species: Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives,[University of Auckland, 19 to 23 February 2001] (No. 27). IUCN, 182-198.

During the period 1996-2000, eradication of five introduced mammal species (feral cat (Felis catus), rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), ship rat (Rattus rattus), Norway rat (R. norvegicus) and house mouse (Mus domesticus)), was attempted on four inhabited islands, including three resort islands, ranging in size from 101–286 ha in the Seychelles group, Indian Ocean. Objectives were to avert extinctions of, and restore urgently-needed habitat for, localised threatened endemic animals and to facilitate ecological restoration in line with a national biodiversity strategy. Local political, economic and biological constraints meant that adaptations were necessary to traditional poisoning and trapping methods and regimes. Furthermore, since no rat-free island was available to which native animals at risk from primary and/or secondary poisoning might be transferred, it was necessary to maintain approx. 590 individuals of three threatened animal species in captivity for the three months of the eradication programme. Strategies and techniques developed, and some of the many challenges encountered in conducting eradication and quarantine programmes on inhabited, tropical islands are outlined, together with progress to date. One island (Bird) has been maintained free of rats and rabbits since their eradication in 1996. Two others (Denis and Curieuse) are now free of feral cats but have been recolonised by Rattus rattus since eradication attempts in 2000. The fourth (Frégate), was successfully cleared of R. norvegicus and mice in 2000, in time to avert extinctions of localised threatened endemic animals. These positive results will, we hope, inspire similar effort on other inhabited islands with high biological values or potential.

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