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Rodent eradication project

The extinction of native species

The presence of exotic rodents on islands is one of the greatest causes of plant and animal species extinction in the world.

Rats have been implicated in the extinction of five endemic bird species, at least 13 species of endemic invertebrates, and two plant species on Lord Howe Island.

Rodents are also a recognised threat to at least 13 other bird species, two reptile species, 51 plant species, 12 vegetation communities, and seven species of threatened invertebrates on the island. Seven of these species are listed as "Critically Endangered" under NSW and Commonwealth legislation.

As a significant threat to Lord Howe Island's World Heritage values, the removal of rodents has since resulted in significant benefits to the island's biodiversity, allowing species recovery, as well as improved visitor and community experience.

Ratting out the rodents

Lord Howe Island (LHI) is the largest permanently populated island on which the eradication of rodents has been undertaken to date. 

The LHI REP is the single biggest conservation action to date on the island. The project aimed to eradicate introduced rodents: the Ship Rat (Rattus rattus) and the House Mouse (Mus musculus) from LHI and its associated islands and rocky islets (excluding Balls Pyramid), known as the Lord Howe Island Group (LHIG).

After more than 15 years of detailed research and planning, the final stage of the Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Project (REP) was implemented between May and November 2019.

The eradication of rodents also presented an opportunity to simultaneously eradicate the introduced Masked Owl.

View the data on the project: