Increase in Yelkouan Shearwater population in Zembretta (Tunisia) following ship rat eradication

Bourgeois, K., Ouni, R., Pascal, M., Dromzée, S., Fourcy, D., & Abiadh, A. (2013). Dramatic increase in the Zembretta Yelkouan shearwater breeding population following ship rat eradication spurs interest in managing a 1500-year old invasion. Biological Invasions 15 (3) : 475-482.   DOI: 10.1007/s10530-013-0419-x

Abstract:

The ship rat (Rattus rattus) was introduced 1,500 years ago to the Zembra Archipelago (Tunisia) and was eradicated in October–November 2009 on two of its islands, Zembretta and Zembrettina. This eradication was performed 2 years after the discovery of a small colony of Yelkouan Shearwaters (Puffinus yelkouan), a species recently up-listed to the vulnerable IUCN extinction risk category. For 2 years before and 3 years after rat eradication, the Zembretta Yelkouan shearwater breeding colony was checked yearly at the end of the breeding season. The number of recorded breeding pairs reaching 176 and 145, respectively, increases of 10.4 and 8.5-fold two and 3 years after rat eradication. This experiment shows that eradication of an ancient introduced ship rat population has dramatically improved the Zembretta Yelkouan Shearwater breeding population very quickly. This result suggests that managing even long-introduced populations might well be fruitful.

Yelkouan Shearwaters (Puffinus yelkouan) ringed and released at the entry of its burrow, Zembra, Tunisia

Yelkouan Shearwaters (Puffinus yelkouan) ringed and released at the entry of its burrow, Zembra, Tunisia (photo: Awatef Abiadh / Initiative PIM)

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One Response to Increase in Yelkouan Shearwater population in Zembretta (Tunisia) following ship rat eradication

  1. Pingback: Nidification possible de l’Océanite tempête Hydrobates pelagicus à l’île Zembra, Tunisie | North African Birds

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