Jun 12, 2009 03:25 PM
Last year, one of the world’s most aggressive island restoration projects was launched to poison all the invasive rats on Alaska’s Rat Island, located in the western part of the Aleutian islands. But the extermination project may have taken an unexpected toll: a recent survey of the island recovered the corpses of 41 bald eagles and 186 glaucous-winged gulls – raising the possibility that the birds died after consuming poisoned rats.
“When you go to an island after a winter, it's not surprising to find bird carcasses,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Bruce Woods, “but not these numbers.” There were only four breeding pairs of the federally protected bald eagles residing on the island last year, but the population in the Aleutians numbers 2,500.
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Hancock Wildlife Foundation