Dean Egan from the NPWS has a surprise or two in store for rodents.
Dean Egan from the NPWS has a surprise or two in store for rodents. Rob Wright

Work while muttonbirds away

COFFS HARBOUR’S iconic Muttonbird Island is closing temporarily in the war against undesirables.

The nature reserve is off-limits until 10am on Friday and again from 1pm on May 24 to 10am on May 28 for annual rodent trapping.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is undertaking live trapping of house mice and black rats – both introduced species – and the native swamp rat to establish the size of their populations.

They’re doing it now while the muttonbirds are on their annual migration to South East Asia.

“This helps us work out the intensity of control to use to protect the shearwaters in our management of the island,” said NPWS research assistant Dean Egan.

“All rodents worldwide are known to decimate breeding sites and reduce the populations of seabirds.”

Mr Egan said the rodent trapping program was important in the management of the island.

“This will allow us to directly compare with what we have done in past years,” he said.

“We can get information to see how we can continually improve our management on the island to reduce the impacts of rodents on the shearwaters.”

The scientific research and control program to protect the wedge-tailed shearwater nesting colony is supported by the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority in partnership with the University of New England.

For more information, contact the NPWS Coffs Coast area office at the marina on 6652 0900.



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