Lord Howe Island’s outstanding universal value is recognised in its World Heritage listing for exceptional diversity of spectacular and scenic landscapes and for its rich biodiversity including many threatened and endemic species found nowhere else in the world.
The island’s small community of 350 people has a long history of successful and ongoing sustainability and conservation programs to protect and enhance the World Heritage values. Sustainability programs include the development of the tourist bed cap of 400 people at any one time, community driven recycling and waste reduction programs and a world class waste management facility that diverts 86% of the islands waste from land fill.
From a conservation and rehabilitation perspective the island has delivered many successful programs over several decades including eradication of feral pigs, cats and goats and recovery of species that were on the brink of extinction such as the Lord Howe Island Woodhen and Lord Howe Island Phasmid – the world’s rarest insect.
The island is also 10 years in to a 30 year weed eradication program targeting over 60 invasive weed species and is close to declaring a world first successful eradication of African Big-headed Ants on an oceanic island.
The next positive step is the eradication of rats and mice, with the Rodent Eradication Project (REP) planned for winter 2018. Rodents are significantly impacting Lord Howe Island’s World Heritage values, including impacts to more than 70 species of plants and animals. Eradication of rodents will have significant benefits to the islands biodiversity, threatened species recovery and improve the visitor experience. The $9.5M project will be the single biggest conservation action to date on Lord Howe Island.
LHI will be the largest, permanently populated island on which the eradication of rodents has been undertaken to date. The evidence shows that the best long-term solution is to eradicate both rats and mice from the LHI Group in a single eradication operation. However, given the island’s permanent human population, its highly developed tourism industry and its endemic and threatened species, considerable planning has been undertaken to ensure all environmental and human health issues were thoroughly examined during the Planning and Approval stage.
Many methods of eradication have been carefully investigated in order to identify the one most suited to the LHI Group, including a number of different toxins and different means of delivering them, as well as undeveloped and unproven fertility control methods.
Based on a range of data from over 300 successful eradication programmes on islands around the world, the proven and most effective method for LHI is distributing poison baits by three main methods, aerial distribution in the uninhabited mountains and hand broadcasting and using bait stations in the settlement area. The bait, Pestoff 20R®, contains brodifacoum, which has been shown in trials to be highly palatable to both ship rats and house mice.
The REP has received significant funding ($9.5M) in 2012 for planning and implementation from the Federal Government’s former Caring for our Country Program (now National Landcare program) $4,500,000 and the NSW Environmental Trust $4,542,442 with the project set to take place in winter 2018.
Visit Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island is one of the most unique places on earth, visit and see it for yourself.
There will be a range of participation activities available during the project (14th May – 15th September 2018) . Learn about the project (and meet the biosecurity dogs and a phasmid)
If you are visiting the project during the eradication (14th May – 15th September) and have any survey skills, get in touch!
Donate to Protecting Paradise and become part of our conservation team.