2 Sep 2009

Samoa Government gets tough on rat eradication

12:20 pm on 2 September 2009

The government in Samoa is boosting its efforts to save the country's ecosystem by getting tough on rat eradication.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has for the first time initiated a helicopter rat bait drop in the forests of Nu'utele and Nu'ulua Islands from the Aleipata group, to remove all rats and protect the natural heritage.

Dr Alan Tye, the invasive species officer of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, or SPREP, says the rats are causing widespread damage to the islands' vegetation, bird and reptile populations.

He says two bait drops over the past fortnight were to kill off the rats in order to restore the natural flora and fauna.

"We expect to see big changes. We know from similar projects from other places that once you take Pacific rats off an island like the two Aleipata islands you'll see vast regeneration in the population of some of these plants and animals."

Dr Alan Tye says although the bait has been designed to be tasty and toxic for rats but low risk to other animals, 23 ground doves have been placed in captivity until the operation concludes.