Rats are great fodder for writers, being just backward-spelled star. They are now getting exterminated from Rat Island. These fallen stars allegedly came ashore from a Japanese ship, grounded in 1780.
Interesting timing. Captain Cook sailed Alaska waters in 1778 and Captain Clerke returned to the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean in 1779, after Cook's death. Fables exist of rats killing entire sailing ship crews. The rat-infested vessels became wandering rat-bombs.
In the case of Rat Island, the little munchkins apparently ate the resident/migrant birds long ago. They have since survived mostly on vegetation.
I have no problem with deratting an island, but two things come to mind: 1) Isn't this similar to killing wolves? Only difference is, soft-hearted city-sorts want to view birds (at least in their minds) and hearty country hicks want to eat moose; and 2) Aren't we going about it wrong? As I understand it, the current plan calls for helicopter-dropped poison. Poisons have a bad reputation for worming their way into unwanted neighborhoods.
Here's what we could do: Transplant a few wolves to Rat Island, being careful to ensure they pass the Noah Test (include both sexes). Wolves will get hungry on Rat Island. Hungry wolves are excellent hunters. Should predate those rats right into extinction. The wolves, being poor evolutionary candidates, won't adapt to eating vegetation. After the rats are gone, the stupid wolves will starve to death and the birds will come flapping back.
This has potential for school groups, being excellent lessons in nature. Could even be a case-in-point for evolution. If the wolves are willing to adapt to green grub, they'll survive.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.