Forget better mouse traps: save the forest

April 13, 2006

Wildlife Conservation Society scientists in New York say the most cost-effective way to control rats on the Fiji Islands is to protect standing forests.

Rats and mongooses are decimating highly endangered species on Fiji's larger tropical islands. The Bronx Zoo's WCS experts say the best way to control the predators is not by intensive trapping but by preserving forest blocks where wildlife live.

The scientists found rats and mongooses rarely penetrated into the forest interior, preferring instead to forage along the forests' edges.

The finding is potentially good news for species such as the pink-billed parrotfinch, banded iguana and Fijian land snail, all of which live deep within Fiji's remaining forests.

By using bait stations designed to attract rats and mongooses, the researchers discovered stations located more than approximately 3 miles from the forest edge were rarely visited.

"Protection of the few remaining large blocks of natural forests on Pacific islands may be the most cost-effective approach for conserving many rare species threatened by rats and mongooses," said WCS researcher David Olson, lead author of the study.

The research appears in the latest issue of the journal Conservation Biology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Into Madagascar: Biology professor returns from research-teaching adventure in biodiversity hotspot

Related Stories

Predators battle bugs, become pests themselves

July 21, 2009

(AP) -- Imported insects have been deployed as foot soldiers in the fight against invasive bugs and plants that cause billions of dollars in damage each year. But some of those imports are proving to be pests themselves ...

Smithsonian scientists rearrange Hawaii's bird family tree

December 11, 2008

A group of five endemic and recently extinct Hawaiian songbird species were historically classified as "honeyeaters" due to striking similarities to birds of the same name in Australia and neighboring islands in the South ...

Recommended for you

Innovations from the wild world of optics and photonics

August 2, 2015

Traditional computers manipulate electrons to turn our keystrokes and Google searches into meaningful actions. But as components of the computer processor shrink to only a few atoms across, those same electrons become unpredictable ...

Shedding light on millipede evolution

August 2, 2015

As an National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded entomologist, Virginia Tech's Paul Marek has to spend much of his time in the field, hunting for rare and scientifically significant species. He's provided NSF with an inside ...

Better together: graphene-nanotube hybrid switches

August 2, 2015

Graphene has been called a wonder material, capable of performing great and unusual material acrobatics. Boron nitride nanotubes are no slackers in the materials realm either, and can be engineered for physical and biological ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.