11-27-2007, 06:29 PM #1
Rats wipe out seabirds on Alaska island
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - More than 200 years ago, rats jumped ship for Rat Island. The muscular Norway rat climbed ashore on the rugged, uninhabited island in far southwestern Alaska in 1780 after a rodent-infested Japanese ship ran aground. It was the first time rats had made it to Alaska. Since then, Rat Island, as the piece of rock was dubbed by a sea captain in the 1800s, has gone eerily silent. The sounds of birds are missing.
That is because the rats feed on eggs, chicks and adult seabirds, which come to the mostly treeless island to nest on the ground or in crevices in the volcanic rock. "As far as bird life, it is a dead zone," said Steve Ebbert, a biologist at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, whose 2,500 mostly uninhabited islands include the Aleutian chain, of which Rat Island is a part. State and federal wildlife biologists are gearing up for an assault on the rats of still-uninhabited Rat Island, hoping to exterminate them with rat poison dropped from helicopters. If they succeed, the birds will sing again on Rat Island. And it will be the third-largest island in the world to be made rat-free.
A visitor to the island 1,700 miles from Anchorage doesn't have to look far to find evidence of vermin. The landscape is riddled with rat burrows, rat trails, rat droppings and chewed vegetation. Certain plants are all but gone. "You go to Rat Island and there are hardly any chocolate lilies," said Jeff Williams, another refuge biologist. The same for songbirds and seabirds.
Rats have all but wiped out the seabirds on about a dozen large islands and many smaller islands in the refuge, which is home to an estimated 40 million nesting seabirds. Puffins, auklets and storm petrels are most at risk because they leave their eggs and young for extended periods while foraging. The rats jumped ship beginning in the late 1700s, a problem that worsened in the 1800s when Russian merchant vessels plied the islands, and grew more serious in the 1940s, when hundreds of military ships visited the Aleutian Islands during World War II.
11-27-2007, 07:20 PM #2
Very interesting thread Buzz. I think rats must be sorta like many politicians.
I guess its like in the beginning, it only takes two of em to get started!!
.Opinions expressed by me, are mine, based on life experience, and known facts of any given case.
"""I am just a pixel in the universal plan."""
11-27-2007, 07:30 PM #3
Thanks for the article, Buzz. *I think*
My cat dropped a pretty big rat by my truck door this week.
I wish I knew where she found it!
Rats are DISGUSTING!
p.s. -- some people believe Rats will take over the entire world someday!
Rats & Cochroaches!
11-27-2007, 08:26 PM #4
11-27-2007, 08:36 PM #5Former Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
WHERE IS JBEAN????? she will loveeeeeeeeeeeeeee this thread-
11-27-2007, 08:48 PM #6
11-27-2007, 08:51 PM #7
How can they be sure the rat poison won't affect the birds? Maybe they can put some large cold weather feline species there to do the job.
11-27-2007, 08:56 PM #8
At the risk of becoming fresh meat for PETA... I'll share a two fold solution...
Why don't we stop exterminating cats in many shelters around the USA and alter them, take them to Rat Island and then change the name of the island to "Cat Island"...(but then the birds might still be a little skiddish of returning to the island...) Can't you just imagine it...a cat's dream world...an entire island of sand for a 'litterbox!!!)
I bet the feline population which, prior to this, would have been put to sleep, could solve the problem!!!"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance."~ Plato
~The above reflects only my opinion...
11-27-2007, 09:14 PM #9Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
That's what they thought about the cane toads in Australia though. They brought in cane toads to eat problematic bugs. Now, they still have problems with the bugs, but they also have BIG BIG problems with the cane toads, which will try to eat anything that moves, even if it is bigger than the toad. They are poisonous, and breed like wildfire.
11-28-2007, 02:40 AM #10
11-28-2007, 07:07 AM #11
11-28-2007, 07:42 AM #12Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2006
wow--an island of rats off the Alaska coast---imagine if you were Shipwrecked there--After you die of exposure from the cold, the rats will then eat your eyeballs--ewwwwwwww
11-28-2007, 09:33 AM #13FUN... is a renewable resource!
11-28-2007, 11:06 AM #14
11-28-2007, 12:03 PM #15
Have you ever seen a hairless rat? You should look them up - they are ugly. We have one for a pet that is Sooooooooooooo sweet. The other morning, it got out of it's cage and my daughter wasn't expecting to see this ten inch, flesh colored thing leap out at her. She screamed, thinking it was a hand!
It was just gargoyle wanting some love. :-)
I love rats. They are sweet and adorable, give kisses and the ones with hair eventually end up feeding my snakes.FUN... is a renewable resource!
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