Rats discovered on North West Island

December 19, 2022 7:06 am in by
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An eradication program has been launched on North West Island after rangers recently confirmed the existence of a population of black rats.

On 2 December 2022, a campground host reported what he believed to be a rat to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Ranger Damon Shearer says rangers deployed 21 Black Trakka detection tunnels, two trail cameras and sixty baited rodent stations, and examined them on 9 December.

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“Unfortunately,10 of the 21 detection tunnels confirmed rodent tracks, and both trail cameras identified the presence of rats on North West Island,” Mr Shearer says.

“This new population of rats on the island is extremely disappointing, as QPWS confirmed our eradication program targeting mice on the island had been successful in August 2022.

“This population of rats is not related to the previous mouse infestation, as we monitored for rodents on the island from September 2020 to August 2022 and did not detect any mice or rats.

“We are taking immediate action in response to this population, and rangers have implemented a comprehensive control program.

“This includes further monitoring to gain an understanding of the size of the population, the use of Elliot traps, further baiting and more extensive use of trail cameras.”

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Ranger Shearer says due to the extensive, two-year monitoring program for mice, it is believed the population of rats are recent arrivals on the island.

“One pregnant rat is enough to quickly create a population, and anyone who visits our island national parks must be extremely vigilant about biosecurity,” he says.

“Everyone must thoroughly check that their clothing, footwear, camping gear, vehicles and vessels are free of soil, seeds, plants, ants, insects and other animals including rats, mice, lizards and toads before visiting.

“People cannot take shortcuts with biosecurity measures as rats and mice are extremely cunning and can stow away in small places and slip out of sight without being seen.

“North West Island is a key habitat for seabirds including wedge-tailed shearwaters and black noddies, and the population of mice that established on the island were eating seabird eggs and preyed on hatchlings.

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“Rats would do the same, and rangers are hoping to control this population quickly to minimise the impacts on seabirds and the environment.

“Anyone who sees a rat on North West Island can report it to DES on 1300 130 372.”


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