LORD HOWE ISLAND - RODENT ERADICATION PROJECT

Lord Howe Island’s isolation and its varied landscape are home to many unique and endemic species, including 241 species of indigenous plants, almost 50% of which are found nowhere else in the world, 207 species of bird, including the endangered Lord Howe Island Woodhen, and 1,600 terrestrial insect species, including the world’s rarest insect, the Lord Howe Island Phasmid.

The Lord Howe Island Board’s overarching environmental vision is to protect the island’s World Heritage values, rich biodiversity and threatened species. To achieve this the LHI Board is currently delivering the Protecting Paradise Program, an island-wide holistic ecological restoration program underpinned by the LHI Biodiversity Management Plan.

At its core, the Protecting Paradise Program aims to support the removal of destructive invasive species, namely rodents and noxious weeds, whilst maintain protection of threatened species by establishing a sustainable and robust bio security system to prevent the introduction and establishment of invasive species.

The presence of exotic rodents on islands is one of the greatest causes of species extinction in the world. Rats have already been implicated in the extinction of five endemic bird species, at least 13 species of endemic invertebrates, and two plant species on LHI. Rodents are also a recognised threat to at least 13 other bird species, 2 reptiles, 51 plant species, 12 vegetation communities, and 7 species of threatened invertebrates on the Island. Seven of these species are listed as “Critically Endangered” under NSW and Commonwealth legislation.

These programs complement significant achievements to date including the eradication of cats and pigs in the 1980’s, feral goats in 1999, and Myrtle Rust in 2018, a world-first.

The Protecting Paradise Program was the Gold winner of the 2018 Banksia Sustainability Awards and the 2018 NSW Green Globe Awards in the Natural Environment and Regional Sustainability categories.

After more than 15 years of detailed research and planning, final implementation of the Rodent Eradication Project (REP) is scheduled for winter 2019.

For an overview of the project click here

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?

During 2019 the REP will be included in the LHI Conservation Volunteers (CVLHI) program. Running from May-September the CVLHI believe in protecting Lord Howe Island’s unique biodiversity while showcasing world-class conservation in action. They are dedicated to empowering like-minded people to make a difference through robust citizen science, inspiring educational experiences, and tangible local conservation action.

The CVLHI program is jointly delivered by the Lord Howe Island BoardLord Howe Island Museum, LHI Marine Park and the Lord Howe Island Tourism Association in partnership with local businesses.

Our globally recognised conservation projects have experts from all over the world working side by side with our conservation volunteers, monitoring, collecting and exploring this unique natural environment. Experience nature like nowhere else and be part of sustaining this amazing environment and experience firsthand the species that our conservation projects are safeguarding.

Get involved in CVLHI

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 midway in to a 30 year weed eradication program targeting over 60 invasive weed species.

The next positive step is the eradication of rats and mice, with the Rodent Eradication Project (REP) planned for winter 2019. 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 $10.5M project will be the single biggest conservation action to date on Lord Howe Island.

THE PROJECT

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 2019.

GET INVOLVED

Visit Lord Howe

The best way to experience the true beauty of Lord Howe Island is to see it for yourself; be involved in a world class conservation effort and make a difference in the continued protection of this World Heritage treasure.

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Conservation participation

Visit Lord Howe during May-Sept 2019.

Join the citizen science programs, talks and lectures and see the species, which this project is safeguarding.

Volunteering & Citizen Science

Join our LHI Conservation Volunteer program which runs from May – September 2019 and be involved in a world-class, award-winning, holistic conservation effort – protecting paradise.

Donate

When you donate to Protecting Paradise you are becoming a part of our team.
Your donations help us carry our globally recognised conservation projects that keep Lord Howe Island’s reputation as the last paradise intact for generations to come.

More information coming soon!

NEWS AND UPDATES

August 26, 2018

Lord Howe Island Conservation Volunteers Seabird Survey – Providence Petrel

May 29, 2018

Reef Fish behaviour towards placebo bait pellets on Lord Howe Island

May 28, 2018

Zoo’s Victoria Visit to Lord Howe Island

May 2, 2018

Providence Petrels on Lord Howe Island

April 10, 2018

REP Project Updates – Weekly Newsletter 6

Will a revised methodology jeopardise the success of the REP? The decision to delay implementation until 2019 was announced in the Householder last week (20/02/2018), but what does the revised methodology really mean? Without the APVMA licence in hand and not knowing what the approval conditions might be, we were unable to plan the final logistics to implement the baiting […]
April 10, 2018

REP Project Updates – Weekly Newsletter 5

Another Conservation Success for Lord Howe Island  On Wednesday the 7th of March 2018 the Lord Howe Island Board’s Environmental unit undertook the final monitoring survey for African Big Headed Ants (ABhA) at previously infested sites on the island. There have now been no ABhA detected anywhere on the island since 2015. This is a fantastic result as we are […]
April 9, 2018

REP Project Updates – Weekly Newsletter 4

Marine Edition How will the REP affect the fish? In this edition we would like to explore the impact of the REP on marine life on Lord Howe Island. Safety of the marine environment is a very important component of the REP. There have been more than 490 species of fish recorded in the region and 433 species of fish […]
April 9, 2018

REP Project Updates – Weekly Newsletter 3

Community Meeting Thank you to everyone who attended the REP Meeting on Thursday evening at the Community Hall. If you could not make it, or would like to see a copy of the presentation (with audio) please click here We had some great discussion and questions and hope we had some clear take away information; we look forward to working with you all over the […]
October 5, 2017

All systems go for Lord Howe Island rat eradication

An historic decision has been made for Australia’s World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, they are going to get rid of the rats.The decision was not taken lightly, it follows years of exhaustive research, environmental impact trials, human health assessments, economic cost and benefit analysis. “The project will be the single biggest conservation action to date to protect and enhance the […]