Endangered species return to Lord Howe

·1-min read

Rare birds, snails and other endangered species are growing their population on Lord Howe Island following a rodent control program.

Among the recovering species are the flightless Lord Howe Island woodhens and a number of land snail species that surveyors spent close to 400 hours trying to find across 200 survey sites.

Government scientists, university researchers and island locals spent two weeks cataloguing the woodhens.

NSW Environment and Heritage Minister James Griffin said woodhen numbers have increased to about 565, having been as low as 22 in the 1970s.

Prior programs to eradicate feral pigs on the island helped the population rebound over the years.

A program to control rodent populations began on the island in 2019, helping them recover further.

Introduced rodents had damaged plants and animals on the island, which has a large number of endangered and threatened species, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

"By controlling pigs, cats, goats, plant disease and rodents, Lord Howe Island's native fauna and flora has been able to recover, demonstrating that good science and management can help to turn back the tide of biodiversity decline," Mr Griffin said.

It's hoped insights gained on Lord Howe Island could inform other biodiversity and conservation programs around NSW.

The rodent control program was part of NSW's Saving Our Species program which is focused on increasing populations among threatened species around the state.

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