Rattus rattus

On 6 January 2004. cyclone Heta devastated much of the South Pacific island nation of Niue. Extensive damage was done to forest, particularly of the north- western sector, with many trees up-rooted and others stripped of branches and foliage. This report details our findings from a survey of Niue's birds and rodents during 3-19 September 2004 and compares these with results from a similar survey in September 1994.

In November 2007 and November 2008, we conducted a bird and mammal survey on Wallis and Futuna. We found two non-native bird species on Wallis: the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) and the Chestnut-breasted Munia (Lonchura castaneothorax), and one on Futuna: the Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus). We also recorded Black Rats (Rattus rattus) on Futuna, a recent introduction to this island. The introduction of 3 bird species and Black Rats in the last decade denotes a lack of preventive measures and demonstrates that the issue of invasive species has not received sufficient priority

In November 2007 and November 2008, we conducted a bird and mammal survey on Wallis and Futuna. We found two non-native bird species on Wallis: the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) and the Chestnut-breasted Munia (Lonchura castaneothorax), and one on Futuna: the Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus). We also recorded Black Rats (Rattus rattus) on Futuna, a recent introduction to this island. The introduction of 3 bird species and Black Rats in the last decade denotes a lack of preventive measures and demonstrates that the issue of invasive species has not received sufficient priority.

The three most invasive rat species, black or ship rat Rattus rattus, brown or Norway rats, R. norvegicus and Pacific rat, R. exulans have been incrementally introduced to islands as humans have explored the world’s oceans. They have caused serious deleterious effects through predation and competition, and extinction of many species on tropical islands, many of which are biodiversity hotspots. All three rat species are found in virtually all habitat types, including mangrove and arid shrub land.

The eradication of some introduced pests such as rats, stoats and possums in New Zealand seems increasingly feasible with successful action to date in various cities (e.g. Wellington City) and with the government’s national 2050 predator-free goal. Here we specifically detail the potential benefits of urban rat eradication and find these cover a wide range of topics including a potentially reduced risk of infection from at least seven zoonotic diseases (e.g. leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, trichinellosis, murine typhus; and three enteric diseases).

The eradication of the seven remaining animal pest species remaining on Rangitoto and Motutapu was announced by the Prime Minister and Minister of Conservation in June 2006. With stoats, cats, hedgehogs, rabbits, mice and two species of rats spread across an area of 3842ha, the proposed project is the most challenging and complex island pest eradication the Department of Conservation (DOC) has ever attempted.

Breeding success of 5 Cory’s shearwater Calonectris diomedea sub-colonies of Lavezzu Island (Lavezzi Archipelago, Corsica) was checked annually for 25 consecutive years from 1979 to 2004. Between 1989 and 1994, 4 ship rat Rattus rattus controls were performed in several subcolonies. In November 2000, rats were eradicated from Lavezzu Island and its 16 peripheral islets (85 ha) using traps then toxic baits. We compare cost (number of person-hours required in the field) and benefit (Cory’s shearwater breeding success) of control and eradication.

The visit to the Tokelau Islands described below is the third carried out in a study of ecology, rat control and related problems. The first visit in 1966/67 (Wodzicki 1968 A) was devoted primarily to the study of the ecology of the Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans) and the environment, including the animals and the vegetation, of Nukunonu atoll. The main objects of the second expedition in April-June 1968 (Wodzicki 1968 B) were the initiation of a long-term investigation of rat damage on all three atolls and the training of two men from each island as rat control operatives.

The black rat, roof rat, or ship rat (Rattus rattus L.) is among the most widespread invasive vertebrates on islands and continents, and it is nearly ubiquitous on Pacific islands from the equatorial tropics to approximately 55 degrees latitude north and south. It survives well in human-dominated environments, natural areas, and islands where humans are not present. Rattus rattus is typically the most common invasive rodent in insular forests. Few vertebrates are more problematic to island biota and human livelihoods than R.