'Rat Island's' miraculous recovery

An Alaskan archipelago once dubbed the "Rat Islands" have provided a stunning example of ecological recovery, a new study has said.

'Rat Island's' miraculous recovery

An Alaskan archipelago once dubbed the "Rat Islands" have provided a stunning example of ecological recovery, a new study has said.

The group of islands are on the western edge of the Aleutian archipelago and had been overrun with rats since shipwrecks dating back to the 18th century, Science Daily reported.

The rats, not native to the local system, quickly drove it to the edge of destruction, preying on shore birds and their nests.

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However, in 2008, a group of researchers led a conservation effort which removed the rats from one isle - now renamed Hawadax - in 2008.

Merely 11 years later, the researchers said, the island ecosystem had made a great recovery.

"You don't often get the opportunity to return to a remote location and collect data after the fact," study lead author Associate Professor Carolyn Kurle said.

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"Sometimes it's hard to say that a conservation action had any sort of impact, but in this particular case we took a conservation action that was expensive and difficult, and we actually demonstrated that it worked. But we didn't expect it to be so fast."

The birds have returned to the island and have taken up their usual predations against their own seaside prey, which in turn has allowed local kelp populations to recover.

Source : 9 News More