Jul 12, 2020
Free Webinar: July 16, 2020 07:00 PM
The link to register for our event is: https://bit.ly/FarallonRestoration
• Gerry McChesney, Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge Manager;
• Winston Vickers, DVM, MPVM, University of California, Davis;
• Peter Warzybok, Farallones Program Leader, Point Blue Conservation Science;
• Roger Harris, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Oceanic Society.
• Anna Weinstein, Director of Ocean Resources, National Audubon Society, as master of ceremonies. [
The Farallon Islands host the largest seabird rookery in the lower 48 states and have unique biological value. The Farallons host 25 percent of California’s breeding seabirds, with nearly 350,000 individuals of 13 species. But introduced, invasive mice have pushed the rare Ashy Storm-Petrel on a potential path to extinction as well as impacting the species found nowhere else including the Farallon Camel Cricket, Farallon Arboreal Salamander. Mice also feed on native vegetation, promoting invasive plants, and, over time, may attack the nestlings of native seabirds, as has happened on other islands. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTvcGU0FdMA .
The plan draws on long-term studies starting in 1968, with planning dating back to 2004. Hardly a rush to action.
The plan involves the one-time use of a rodenticide – permitted for island restorations only – is vastly different from the indiscriminate over-use of rodenticides in agriculture and home use on the mainland. Most of the bait pellets are non-germinating grains. The actual amount of toxicant would be 1.6 ounces total, not the 1.5 tons claimed.
The 600 previous island restorations around the world have demonstrated the success of this eradication method. Between 2007 and 2019, 28 of the 30 house mouse eradications undertaken on islands have been successful, with the remaining two still being monitored.
Alternative solutions, including contraceptives, have been suggested. A contraceptive approach to eradication is unavailable because it has not undergone sufficient testing or environmental review, nor received any necessary permits allowing use.
If there were a feasible non-lethal means of removing the introduced mice, the scientists who have worked on this project for decades and have dedicated their lives to the restoration of the Farallones, would embrace it.
Any adverse impacts to other species would be short-term to individuals. The Fish and Wildlife Service has been falsely accused of saying “at least 1,000 Western Gulls” would die. That interpretation is incorrect. The 1,000 Western Gulls number was a theoretical modeling number that represents the number of lost gulls at which there might be a long-term impact to the gull population. Based on hazing trials to keep gulls away from the island, the number of gulls inadvertently killed could be as low as zero.
The Marin Audubon Society is pleased to join other leading organizations involved in marine and bird conservation in support of the eradication plan, including: Point Blue Conservation Science, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, California Academy of Sciences, Oceanic Society, BirdLife International,American Bird Conservancy, International Bird Rescue, and many others.
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