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Important Haida Gwaii sea bird habitat declared rat-free

Important Haida Gwaii sea bird habitat declared rat-free

A joint effort to eradicate rats from important seabird habitat on Haida Gwaii has met with success.

Parks Canada and the Haida Nation have declared Arichika Island rat-free after a 2011 program that saw helicopters drop poison pellets from the sky.

The island was once a highly productive seabird colony and home to abundant numbers of Ancient Murrelet, now a species at risk in Canada, but it was devastated for years by rats introduced as early as the late 1700s.

Parks Canada says the island’s ecosystem has been bouncing back, noting increased numbers of nests and successful chick-rearing by black oystercatchers, a species that acts as a sentinel for changes in coastal ecosystem health.

Officials say another native species, the Dusky shrew is also making a comeback since the rats were removed.

Both the Haida and Parks Canada are hoping the Ancient Murrelets, can now return to the remote islands like Arichika.

About Bill Fee

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