Bird numbers and other wildlife populations are starting to recover on Dog Island in Anguilla in the Caribbean, following an intensive five-month programme to eradicate black rats and two years of careful monitoring.
Covering 207 hectares, the island is the largest Caribbean island to be successfully cleared of non-native rats to protect the island’s threatened wildlife.
Dog Island is an internationally-recognised Important Bird Area, with over 100,000 pairs of nesting seabirds. It also supports lizards found nowhere else on earth and endangered sea turtles, which nest on the island’s white sandy beaches.
However prior to November 2011 the island was also infested with thousands of invasive, non-native black rats, which caused severe damage by suppressing native flora and preying on eggs, chicks, and other animals.
The eradication took place between November 2011 and March 2012 and was a collaborative initiative among the Anguilla National Trust, the Government of Anguilla (Department of Environment), Fauna & Flora International, the RSPB, and the island’s owner– the Anguilla Development Company.