The Ministry of the Environment of Ecuador implemented since Thursday, January 24, 2019, a project to eradicate rodent species on an island of the Galápagos archipelago, located about 1,000 kilometers from the mainland coast of the country.
This initiative was put in place to eradicate the black rat (rattus rattus) and the Norwegian rat (rattus norvegicus), which proliferated on Seymour North Island and its neighboring Islet Mosquera, the ministry said in a statement.
Some thirty rangers participated in this operation, equipped and wearing protective clothing to disperse the baits with their hands on almost half of the island’s 184 hectares and the neighboring island, explained the organization Island Conservation, a strategic ally of the Ministry.
The State portfolio indicated that the presence of rodents in the islands affected the sites where seabird nests are found such as frigatebirds and the seagull (the only nocturnal gull on the planet).
The Galapagos National Park and Island Conservation used 3,000 kilograms of rodenticide to exterminate the invading vertebrates, which was specifically designed to be used in Galapagos and did not affect the climatic conditions of the islands.
Likewise, Island Conservation assured that a foreign company collaborated with drones and hoppers with 3D printers that were used to apply the rodenticide, which managed to cover 52 percent of the island.
The director of Island Conservation, Karl Campbell, affirmed that it is the first application of bait with drones in a deratization project and that “this type of operations previously required helicopters, specialized pilots and buckets of bait spraying”.
You cannot visit North Seymour Island until February 8, since the director of the Galapagos National Park, Jorge Carrión, affirmed that the second application of the bait is scheduled for the end of January.
On the other hand, one of the park rangers, Christian Sevilla, said that ecological monitors will be put into operation and that the Galapagos Islands could declare themselves free of rodents in the coming years. (I)