Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico Island Conservation - preventing extinctions

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Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico Island Conservation - preventing extinctions

Desecheo Island supports important populations of plants, as well as animals found nowhere else in the world such as the Desecheo Anole, Desecheo Ameiva, and Desecheo Dwarf Gecko. Before the introduction of invasive rats, the island hosted large colonies of breeding seabirds, including the world’s largest Brown Booby colony and an important Red-footed Booby colony. But, due to the destruction of native vegetation and predation on eggs and chicks by these invasive rats, seabirds no longer nest on Desecheo and many plants and animals are threatened. Island Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working together to remove invasive rats from Desecheo Island. With the island free of invasive species, native plants and animals will once again be able to thrive in their natural habitat. Coral reefs in the Marine Reserve surrounding Desecheo (managed by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources) are also expected to benefit from the island’s restoration; increased vegetation will reduce soil erosion into the sea, and the seabirds will provide valuable nutrients to the adjacent marine ecosystems.

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