10 Mar 2008

Rat eradication programme in Fiji deemed a success

4:09 pm on 10 March 2008

A rat eradication programme on the Fiji island of Vatu I Ra has been declared a success.

The now rat free island is located in the channel between Vanua Levu and Viti Levu.

The project to get rid of the Pacific Rat was initiated in July 2006, in order to protect various species of sea birds and other flora and fauna.

BirdLife International's programme manager in Fiji, Steve Cranwell, says the pilot project to get rid of the rat, now offers hope to other Pacific countries.

"One of the effects of the rat is that they are implicated in the reduction of ground nesting birds through eating chicks and eggs and that kind of thing. So that was the motivation if you like for the restoration - basically trying to remove these rats so that a more complete seabed fauna could be restored."

BirdLife International's Steve Cranwell.