Island’s Invasive Species Wreak Havoc: How Did They Get Here?
Fernando de Noronha is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site for its natural values, but beneath the tourism and pristine island beaches is a plague of pests threatening to eat everything.
I have spent the past three weeks on the island working with a TRIADE (Brazilian Institute for Conservation Medicine) team researching invasive species on Fernando de Noronha. I have been focusing on the introduced rats (Rattus rattus) in the forest ecosystems.
After six nights mark-recapture trapping at our study site we have estimated their density at a staggering 27 per hectare. This is after the population crash at the end of the dry season, and in the presence of cats which roam freely around the island preying on rodents but also native birds such as the white-tailed tropic bird (Phaethon lepturus). It always amazes me that an island can be granted World Heritage status before a simple and necessary task such as eradicating all the cats and rats has first been undertaken. Should this be a condition for World Heritage status?