Conservation Success Story

Lord Howe Island in Australia has finished eradicating the entirety of their invasive rat and mouse populations, and the recovery of the endemic-Australian ecosystem has been near-immediate.


Panoramic aerial view of Lord Howe island

It took three years to rid the UNESCO-listed island in the East Tasman Sea of its 300,000 unwanted guests and the recovery of the endemic-Australian ecosystem has been near-immediate.


With trees now fruiting, land invertebrates returning, and one of Australia’s rarest birds, the flightless woodhen - whose population has doubled to 565 in the past three years - all thriving once more.


“What is unfolding is an ecological renaissance, since the rodents have gone, the catchphrase is: ‘I’ve never seen that before’,” Hank Bower from the Lord Howe Island board told the Sydney Morning Herald.


Ongoing monitoring on the island continues, including bringing in rat detection dogs every few months to ensure the unwanted pests stay away. The last rat spotted was in August last year. Eradication programs of invasive species on islands have become a key tool against the global extinction crisis.


The Ministry of Environment of Australia said it was “an incredibly optimistic sign for the future of conservation.”


Globally, there have been more than 800 successful eradications of invasive mammals on 181 different islands since the year 2000 - including the famous eradications of feral goats from the Galapagos Islands.