The Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Program (LHI REP) aims to eradicate introduced rodents: the Ship Rat (Rattus rattus) and the House Mouse (Mus musculus) from Lord Howe Island (LHI) and its associated islands and rocky islets (excluding Balls Pyramid), hereafter referred to as the Lord Howe Island Group (LHIG). Rodents are currently having significant impacts on World Heritage values including impacts to a range of listed threatened species. The eradication of rodents will also present an opportunity to simultaneously eradicate the introduced Masked Owl.
The one-off eradication proposes to distribute a cereal-based bait pellet (Pestoff 20R) containing 0.02g/kg (20 parts per million) of the toxin, Brodifacoum across the LHIG (excluding Balls Pyramid). Methods of distribution will be dispersal from helicopters using an under-slung bait spreader bucket in the uninhabited parts of the island (most of the LHIG) and by a combination of hand broadcasting and the placement of bait in trays and bait stations in the settlement area. In the outdoor areas of the settlement, baits will be dispersed by hand and/or placed into bait stations. In dwellings (e.g. in ceiling spaces or floor spaces) bait trays and bait stations will be used. Bait stations will also be used around pens for any remaining livestock (e.g. the remaining dairy herd, goat or horse containment areas).
Given the size and rugged terrain of the LHIG, the exclusive use of baits stations is not feasible for the eradication.
The decision if to proceed to the operational phase has been postponed until the Board decision in September this year, with implementation targeted for winter 2019 (June to August).
The LHI REP has received significant funding ($9M) 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.