Drones will protect native wildlife from invasive rats on Polynesian atolls

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Tetiaroa Atoll consists of a ring of 12 islets surrounding a turquoise lagoon in French Polynesia. The atoll is one of the most important nesting sites for seabirds in the area and it is also home to many Green Sea Turtles. However, the invasive rats pose a significant threat to the isles’ native wildlife, as they prey on nesting seabirds and Green Sea Turtles hatchlings.

The Island Conservation group will use the drone service of Envico Technologies to eradicate the invasive rats. They will use hexacopters to drop poison pellets manufactured to attract rats exclusively.

Drones were successfully used in the Gal√°pagos Islands for the same purposes, and last month the islands were officially declared rat-free.

Convervationist groups have previously failed to eradict rats from the Tetiaroa Atoll in 2012, since manual methods were slower and more expensive than drone operations. Including drones in the upcoming operations can make the eradiction of invasive rats successful.

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