Pinzon Island has on average ten rats per square metre
The precious ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands is under threat from hundreds of millions of rats – and now plans are in place to kill the vermin. Ecuador is planning to massacre more than 180 million rats by dropping more than 20 tons of poisonous bait on uninhabited Pinzon Island by helicopter. This is the second stage in a battle to kill all non-native rodents on the famous 19-island archipelago by 2020.
Norwegian rats, otherwise known as brown rats, as well as black rats were brought to the Galapagos by whalers and pirates in the 17th century. Today they feed on the eggs and young of the islands’ native species, such as giant tortoises, lava lizards, snakes, iguanas and hawks and also on plants.
The rats “reproduce every three months and eat everything”, one nature protection expert says. On Pinzon, there are on average ten rats per square metre. The poison is designed to attract only rats.
[pictured: Norwegian, or brown, rat]