It took nearly a decade, over 13 billion dollars, and more than 300 tons of rat bat, but Southern Georgia Island has finally been declared free of rats and mice! This is the largest rodent eradication effort in history. The island is 330 miles long and 269,000 acres, or eight times larger than the largest island where rats were eradicated previously. It is crisscrossed by huge glaciers, which create isolated areas that could be baited separately.
Rats and mice came to this island in the southern Atlantic Ocean in the 18th century, escaping from sealing and whaling ships. Without any predators, rodents multiplied rapidly, feeding on seabird eggs and young seabirds that were in nests on the ground. They decimated populations of over 30 species of sea birds that nest on the island. Two species of the birds that are found nowhere else were close to extinction from the rodents eating them.
Fortunately, many of these seabirds are already starting to make a comeback. The success of this project gives hope that conservation plans to eradicate rats and mice on larger islands may succeed.
Train Hits Elephants. Can Bees Help?
India has lots of wild Asian elephants, and every year some of these magnificent animals are killed by trains, and many more wounded. A combination of more trains, faster trains, and a larger elephant population has meant the problem is getting worse.
Several solutions are being tried in an effort to keep elephants away from the railway tracks. In one area of India, railway officials have installed devices that loudly broadcast the buzz of swarming honeybees. They hope the sound will keep elephants away because they fear the insects. Some farmers use beehives to help keep elephants away from their crops.