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Rodent Management Work on Norfolk Island Recognized by Ecological Impact Award 2021

Research Ecology Lab group member Allie Nance, along with Mel Wilson from Norfolk Island National Park (NINP) team have been awarded this year’s Ecological Impact Award for rodent management work on Norfolk Island. Allie’s research has shed light on the above-ground activities of invasive rodents, which are a key threat to endemic species of Norfolk Island.

Standard rodent control measures, which have had few changes since their establishment in 1993, have focused on ground-level baiting. “Rodent control has been happening on the island here for such a long time, but it had gotten to a state where it wasn’t working anymore,” says NINP Natural Resource Manager Mel Wilson.

After discovering that rodents were just as active in the mid-storey and canopy of forests as they were on the ground, Allie’s team went on to test several different and innovative rodent management designs. Baited arboreal tunnels showed a 60% increase in bait uptake by rodents, and experimental tree-mounted lethal rodent traps removed 19 rodents from the population over a month, with no signs of harming non-target species.

These new insights will inform the Norfolk Island Threatened Species Recovery Plan, which is currently undergoing review.

“Our work happened at the perfect time when we could push to implement a change. I think it’s going to make a big difference,” says Allie Nance.

Allie Nance and Mel Wilson will co-present a plenary at the forthcoming Ecological Society of Australia Conference in November.

 

 

 

Photo by Nick Wiggins

 

 

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