British specialists are now readying themselves to visit the island of South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean and "bombard" it with roughly 270 tonnes of poisoned bait.These toxic “treats” are intended for the island's brown rats, whose overall population has considerably increased over the past few years.
Should these brown rats keep to themselves, it is quite likely that nobody would bother putting together such a large-scale operation in order to kill as many of them as possible.
However, as Daily Mail explains, the brown rats now inhabiting South Georgia have gotten into the habit of eating the eggs laid by the local birds, and are now harming the island's biodiversity.
Moreover, some of them go as far as to feed on the newly born chicks, and are therefore threatening bird species such as penguins, albatrosses, skuas and petrels.
The poisoned bait is to be distributed across the island with the help of three former air ambulance helicopters.
“The only effective way to eradicate rodents on an island the size of South Georgia is by air and the three helicopters will be used to deliver the rat bait, using precision flying, as they criss-cross the island,” project director Tony Martin commented with respect to his endeavor.
“If even one breeding female is left, then we would have failed. We have to make sure that every rat has access to a pellet,” he went on to add.
According to the same source, it will take about two years before the island of South Georgia is freed from these invaders.
In case anyone was wondering, the total costs for this rat cull amount to a whopping ₤7.5 million (roughly €9.26 million / $12 million), but conservationists claim that it is well worth the price.
“When we finish this project, something in the order of 100 million pairs of seabirds will be returning to the island,” Tony Martin wished to emphasize.