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Conserv Biol. 2011 Apr;25(2):232-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01601.x. Epub 2010 Nov 5.

Eradication of invasive mammals on islands inhabited by humans and domestic animals.

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Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, UK.


Non-native invasive mammal species have caused major ecological change on many islands. To conserve native species diversity, invasive mammals have been eradicated from several islands not inhabited by humans. We reviewed the challenges associated with campaigns to eradicate invasive mammals from islands inhabited by humans and domestic animals. On these islands, detailed analyses of the social, cultural, and economic costs and benefits of eradication are required to increase the probability of local communities supporting the eradication campaign. The ecological benefits of eradication (e.g., improvement of endemic species' probability of survival) are difficult to trade-off against social and economic costs due to the lack of a common currency. Local communities may oppose an eradication campaign because of perceived health hazards, inconvenience, financial burdens, religious beliefs, or other cultural reasons. Besides these social challenges, the presence of humans and domestic animals also complicates eradication and biosecurity procedures (measures taken to reduce the probability of unwanted organisms colonizing an island to near zero). For example, houses, garbage-disposal areas, and livestock-feeding areas can provide refuges for certain mammals and therefore can decrease the probability of a successful eradication. Transport of humans and goods to an island increases the probability of inadvertent reintroduction of invasive mammals, and the establishment of permanent quarantine measures is required to minimize the probability of unwanted recolonization after eradication. We recommend a close collaboration between island communities, managers, and social scientists from the inception of an eradication campaign to increase the probability of achieving and maintaining an island permanently free of invasive mammals.

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