Common Mynas eradicated from Denis Island, Seychelles: paper published

In 2010 WildWings Bird Management was contracted by Green Islands Foundation to begin an eradication of Common Mynas from Denis Island, a privately owned island in Seychelles. This was due to concerns over the negative effect of mynas on some of Seychelles’ rare endemic birds that had recently been introduced to the island to provide insurance populationP1020773s. WildWings recruited and trained volunteers to undertake the trapping programme that removed the majority of the mynas. The eradication took about five years but this long duration was due to lack of continuity of management and in the availability of volunteers. The completion of the project in 2015 was facilitated by the appointment of Arjan de Groene as General Manager of Green Islands Foundation, who injected new dynamism to complete the eradication.

Successful completion was reported in early 2015 and the full account of the project that led to this success, and the problems encountered along the way, has just been published in the journal Pest Management Science:

Feare, C.J., van der Woude, J., Greenwell, P., Edwards, H.A., Taylor, J.A., Larose, C.S., Ahlen, P.-A., West, J., Chadwick, W., Pandey, S., Garcia, F., Komdeur, J. & de Groene, A. 2016. Eradication of Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis from Denis Island, Seychelles. Pest Management Science. DOI 10.1002/ps.4263

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In Seychelles the Common Myna has been shown to negatively impact endangered endemic birds, on Denis Island interfering with breeding attempts and attacking adult endemic birds at their nests. This stimulated an attempt to eradicate the island’s mynas.

RESULTS: The eradication was undertaken in three phases, overall killing 1186 mynas and lasting 5 years. Decoy trapping was the most effective method of catching mynas but the last birds were shot.  Decoy trapping was compromised by catches of non-target species. Data collection from killed birds indicated that trapping did not favour either sex, and that most breeding occurred during the wetter season, November to March.

CONCLUSIONS: Eradication of mynas from small tropical islands is feasible. The Denis Island eradication was prolonged by difficulties in management and staffing. Using volunteers, the cost of the eradication was similar to that of eradicating rodents from the island. In future eradication attempts in Seychelles, possible food stress during the drier season (May to September) might facilitate trapping at this time. Habitat management, especially the removal of short mown grass, could enhance eradication progress. Continued monitoring is needed to confirm eradication and detect any immigration, and also to record responses in the endemic birds.

For those who have access the paper can be downloaded from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ps.4263

For those who don’t have access to the journal please ask me for a copy through feare_wildwings@msn.com

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