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Regional News

Operation to eradicate rats from Palau atoll

KOROR (RNZ Pacific/Pacnews) — A recently completed project to eradicate rats from Palau’s Kayangel is expected to provide a boost to the atoll’s ecosystem and increase local food production.

The two-month operation established 45 kilometers of trails across which bait was spread while eliminating alternative food sources for the rats.

Kayangel is one of the several hundred islands that make up the nation of Palau, but one of its only two atolls.

It’s also home to a wealth of wildlife including the Micronesian scrubfowl, the Palau flying fox, and the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle.

These creatures were threatened by rats which began to proliferate at an alarming rate on the atoll after being introduced following a shipwreck in the 1980s.

A major storm in 2014 exacerbated the rat threat, affecting local wildlife, crops and contaminating the local water supply.

The final outcome of the rat eradication project will be confirmed in 2019.