Review of rat invasion biology by New Zealand available



ACAP has recognized from its inception that alien species, especially mammalian predators such as rats and cats, are a major threat to albatrosses and petrels listed within the Agreement.  To commence to address this issue, Dr Richard Phillips, Convenor of ACAP’s Breeding Sites Working Group, has written a document entitled “Guidelines for eradication of introduced mammals from breeding sites of ACAP-listed seabirds” (click here for the PDF).


It is well known that New Zealand, an ACAP Party, is a world leader in researching the effects of introduced predators on seabird islands, and in undertaking successful eradication exercises, as witnessed by the eradication of rats from Campbell Island and from many smaller new Zealand offshore islands.


New Zealand’s’ Department of Conservation ( has recently published on line (and in hard copy available free on request) a review of how rats disperse to and invade islands, along with a discussion on the methods used to detect and prevent their arrival.  The report recommends that multiple devices need to be used to detect and prevent such invasions, including poisons, traps, passive detection devices and trained dogs (see


The Department of Conservation’s web site catalogue of past publications (click here) can be searched for a number of other publications that deal with the problems of rodents on islands – and what to do about them.



 Russell, J.C., Towns, D.R. & Clout, M.N. 2008.  Review of rat invasion biology: implications for island biosecurity.  Science for Conservation No. 286.  Wellington: Department of Conservation 53 pp.  ISBN 978–0–478–14410–9.

Posted by John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 4 March 2009

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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