Effectiveness of rodent control and monitoring techniques for a montane rainforest

Wildlife Society Bulletin
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Introduced black (Rattus rattus) and Polynesian (R. exulans) rats are damaging to native birds, insects, and plants in island ecosystems. We controlled rodent populations in a montane rainforest on the island of Hawaii to determine feasibility, cost, and effectiveness of ground-based rodent control in a rugged, remote rainforest habitat. Treatment was conducted 1996-99, from January to April each year, using rodenticide bait stations and snap-traps. We monitored rodent numbers in 48-ha treatment and reference areas before, during, and after control. As indexed by presence of rat sign in tracking tunnels or census blocks, rodent control reduced rodent abundance 58-90% each year 1 month after treatment began. There was an influx of rats into the treatment area, as shown by higher than expected numbers of rats snap-trapped on the treatment perimeter. Rodent numbers recovered to approximate pretreatment levels by the beginning of the following treatment year. Coast of equipment and supplies for rodent control for the first year was about \$7,000 for a 1-km2 grid. After the first year, cost decreased to about \$2,000 for 1 km2 per year. Rodent control applied continuously for 4 months each year during the breeding season may be effective in protecting nesting forest birds, but will not provide protection to plants and invertebrates vulnerable to predation throughout the year, and it is not likely to protect avian food resources.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effectiveness of rodent control and monitoring techniques for a montane rainforest
Series title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Volume 30
Issue 1
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher Wildlife Society
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 82
Last page 92
Country United States
State Hawaii
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