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Reclaiming South Georgia from its rats: the story so far

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The whalers and sealers of South Georgia famously wreaked havoc on the populations of animals they exploited, but most of those species are now recovering well after decades of protection. Less well publicised is that those same industries left an equally damaging legacy that continues to this day; Norway rats went ashore from their ships and profoundly impacted the island’s native fauna. With advice and support from BAS , the South Georgia Heritage Trust has embarked on a £7m project to eradicate those rats, with the aim of allowing tens of millions of seabirds to reclaim their ancestral home. I will report on the first season’s work, recently completed. Although only 12% of South Georgia has been treated, this is already the largest rodent eradication operation in the world.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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