VIDEO: Native Birds and Wildlife Make a Comeback at Channel Islands National Park
Yesterday, the Park Service released more good news from Channel Islands National Park. Just a few weeks after biodiversity advocates celebrated the recovery of the night lizard on these protected islands, park officials and their partners are now sharing dramatic findings on improvements to bird populations and other native wildlife at Anacapa Island, one decade after removing invasive rats from the ecosystem.
Scientists estimate that rats are responsible for half of bird and reptile extinctions worldwide, and island wildlife populations are particularly vulnerable. The Channel Islands provide critical habitat and nesting grounds for a variety of land and shore birds, including the threatened Scripps’s murrelet. In 2001 and 2002, seven governmental and nonprofit organizations collaborated on an innovative invasive species removal program as part of a larger effort to protect and restore biodiversity on the islands.
A new Park Service video describes some of the efforts conservationists made to remove the rats, and some of the hopeful results, including a four-fold increase in Scripps’s murrelet nests, an increase in the Scripps’s murrelets’ hatching rates from 30 to 85 percent, a wider habitat range for Cassin’s auklets, and strong improvements for other animal populations, including native lizards and mice. The researchers also recorded ashy storm-petrels nesting on the island—for the first time ever.
Park officials and their partners will release a report on their findings later this year, but in the meantime, the video summarizes the good news while capturing some of the scenic vistas that make this part of the world so special.
-Jennifer Errick, Editor, Online Communications