Tackling cats and rats

The rat baiting will protect birds like the ground nesting red-tailed tropic bird

At Christmas Island National Park we’ve got the next few months clearly mapped out with a series of cat and rat control projects on the horizon.

First up is a round of community rat baiting. Introduced black rats are a huge threat to ground nesting sea bird chicks on Christmas Island so we plan the baiting to coincide with egg laying and fledging times of various seabirds that nest near our settled areas. We also target baiting when the rats’ food resources are limited and they are more likely to be invading households.

We’re ready and armed with 500 specially-designed rat baiting buckets, and we’re giving these out free to members of the community who want to help protect the wildlife and manage rats around their homes. The buckets are designed to keep non-target species such as robber crabs out, as well as being safe for pets and children.

In May we’ll do another round of rat baiting – we only run short campaigns of four weeks at a time so the rats don’t get bait shy or develop resistance. Our Cat Eradication Steering Committee also meets in May, just before the kick off of our cat eradication work for the year and the start of our annual island-wide biodiversity survey.

We’ve got everything planned and have ordered the supplies we need. As we’re many hundreds of kilometres from the Australian mainland we have to get organised in advance!

Dion, Christmas Island National Park

This innovative conservation program has been made possible with funding from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Christmas Island Shire, Island Care and the Christmas Island Natural History Association.