Griffiths, R.

The introduction of invasive rats, goats, and rhesus macaques to Desecheo National Wildlife Refuge, Puerto Rico led to the extirpation of regionally signifi cant seabird colonies and negatively impacted plant and endemic reptile species. In 2012, following the successful removal of goats and macaques from Desecheo, an attempt to remove black rats using aerially broadcast rodenticide and bait stations was unsuccessful.

The impacts of house mice (Mus musculus), one of four invasive rodent species in New Zealand, are only clearly revealed on islands and fenced sanctuaries without rats and other invasive predators which suppress mouse populations, influence their behaviour, and confound their impacts. When the sole invasive mammal on islands, mice can reach high densities and influence ecosystems in similar ways to rats.

Rat eradication is a highly effective tool for conserving biodiversity, but one that requires considerable planning eff ort, a high level of precision during implementation and carries no guarantee of success. Overall, rates of success are generally high but lower for tropical islands where most biodiversity is at risk. We completed a qualitative comparative review on four successful and four unsuccessful tropical rat eradication projects to better understand the factors influencing the success of tropical rat eradications and shed light on how the risk of future failures can be minimised.

Eradication of invasive vertebrates on islands has proven to be one of the most effective returns on investment for biodiversity conservation. To recover populations of the critically endangered Polynesian ground dove (Gallicolumba erythroptera), the endangered white-throated storm-petrel (Nesofregetta fuliginosa), the endangered Tuamotu sandpiper (Prosobonia cancellata) as well as other native plant and animal species, a project was undertaken to eradicate five species of invasive alien vertebrates: Pacific rat (Rattus exulans), ship rat (R.