Excerpt from IslandConservation.org
Three years ago, South Georgia Island, a remote and lush paradise for all kinds of wildlife, was declared completely free of invasive rats. Positioned only 800 miles southeast of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia is a nesting site and home for multiple species of birds including the South Georgia Pipit and various species of Penguin – King, Macaroni, and Gentoo.
Historically, South Georgia’s bird populations have evolved in the absence of predators like rats and mice. Nesting on the ground or in shallow burrows, they are easy prey and highly vulnerable to the presence of rodents. Initially introduced in the late 18th century by whalers, rats on South Georgia were extremely successful at exploiting these vulnerabilities, decimating species found nowhere else. Now, birds like the South Georgia Pipit are showing remarkable signs of recovery.
Restoring South Georgia was a massive undertaking. At over 100,000 hectares in size, South Georgia is eight times larger than the previous record holder for the largest island rid of invasive rats. However, it was not solely, South Georgia’s size that made the project so difficult. The island’s geology includes soaring, steep mountains and large slick glaciers, requiring extensive planning and meticulous implementation to ensure rats would be removed from the entire island.
Island Innovation is a social enterprise and digital media company at the intersection of sustainable development and communications, offering specialised services across various sectors. We bring together the private sector, government, utilities, NGOs and universities to advance innovation for sustainability and prosperity in islands worldwide.