Keitt, B.

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.

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.

Indicators for tracking conservation efforts at a global scale are rare but important tools for understanding trends and measuring progress towards global conservation targets. Eradication of invasive species from islands is an increasingly used conservation intervention in countries and territories around the world. With a goal of collating these efforts, the Database of Islands and Invasive Species Eradications (DIISE) holds records of the location, target species, year and outcome of invasive mammal and bird eradications on islands from around the world.

We are on the edge of the sixth mass extinction on Earth. Islands represent ca. 5% of the earth’s land area yet are home to 61% of extinctions in the past 500 years, and currently support 39% of critically endangered species. Invasive species are a leading cause of extinction and endangerment on islands. Invasive vertebrates, particularly mammals, are among some of the most damaging invasive species on islands. Eradicating invasive mammals is an increasingly utilised conservation tool.