Rat Island, Alaska
Rat Island (Hawadax [Bergsland, K "Aleut Dictionary" Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center, 1994] in Aleut) is an island in the
Rat Islandsarchipelago of the western Aleutian Islandsin the U.S. stateof Alaska. The island has a land area of 26.7095 km² (10.3126 sq mi) and no permanent population. It is within the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.
The name is the English translation of the name given to the islands by Captain
Fyodor Petrovich Litkein 1827 when he visited the Aleutian Islands on a voyage around the world.
The Rat Islands are very earthquake-prone as they are located on the boundary of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. In 1965, there was a major earthquake with the magnitude 8.7 in the Rat Islands.
The island is heavily infested with
Norway rats, which are considered a nuisance invasive speciesdue to their negative impact on the population of ground-nesting wild birds. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/11/27/national/a123244S87.DTL&feed=rss.news Rats Wipe Out Seabirds on Alaska Island ] ]
The rats arrived on the island before 1780 due to a Japanese
shipwreck.cite book |last=Ebbert |first=S.E. |authorlink= |coauthors=Byrd, G.V. |editor=Veitch, C.R. |others= |title=Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species : Proceedings of the International Conference on the Eradication of Island Invasives |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=CI8531CO-dsC&pg=PA102&dq=rat.island+aleutian&ie=ISO-8859-1&sig=5ddvI047_Rb3Hpqw0chJcW_Mlyo#PPA102,M1 |accessdate=2007-10-03 |year=2002|month= |publisher=The World Conservation Union |location= |isbn=2831706823|chapter=Eradications of invasive species to restore natural biological diversity on Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge] Since then, the rats have had a devastating effect on local seabirds that have no natural defenses against the rats.cite news |url=http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN0129716820071002 |date= October 2 2007|publisher=Reuters |title=Biologists aim to wipe out Rat Island |accessdate=2007-10-02] Since the introduction, the rats have spread to at least 16 other islands.
In 2007, the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the Refuge, was formulating plans to eradicate the rats, without negatively affecting other species. Scientists considered the island a test case for other eradications in less isolated environments. The eradication plan is modeled on a successful one to eliminate the red foxfrom various Aleutian islands, where they were deliberately introduced for breeding.
Campbell Island, New Zealand, the largest successful rat eradication.
* [http://alaska.fws.gov/nwr/akmar/pdf/rat_assessment_508.pdf] Rat Island Invasive Rat Eradication Project Environmental Assessment
* [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-CONTEXT=dt&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_P001&-tree_id=4001&-transpose=N&-redoLog=false&-all_geo_types=N&-_caller=geoselect&-geo_id=100$10000US020160001001140&-search_results=100$10000US021500001002007&-format=&-_lang=en&-show_geoid=Y Rat Island: Block 1140, Census Tract 1, Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska] United States Census Bureau
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