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Frigate Island. (Photo: Jim Hooper)
Frigate Island. (Photo: Jim Hooper)

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Environment Fund (SVGEF) will be working with SusGren to fund the second phase of the “Protecting Ashton Lagoon’s Biodiversity through the Eradication of Invasive Species” project, in the sum of US$19,358.89. 

Frigate Island is a small, hilly, gem of the Southern Grenadines connected to Union Island by the Ashton Lagoon causeway. 

The island is a wildlife reserve, administered by the SVG National Trust. 

A biodiversity survey for Frigate Island conducted in May 2021 found that the presence of rats on the island is deleterious to the fauna of the island.

Frigate Island 3 photo credit SusGren
SusGren clean up activity at Frigate Island. (Photo: SusGren)

Rodent removal must be ongoing as Frigate Island is connected to the mainland via a causeway that presents a permanent access route for rats from Union Island. 

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Very important is also the presence of nesting barn owls, which had not been recorded on the island in more than a decade.

Therefore, rodenticides should not be used. Traps, such as box traps, can be used to catch and remove rodents from the island, without threatening other species. 

Frigate Island 1 photo credit SusGren
Biodiversity survey in May where the presence of rat was observed during monitoring. (Photo: SusGren)

The May 2021 study was conducted during the dry season when ground cover in many areas was either absent or desiccated. 

A similar study during the rainy season is being recommended to better inform the island’s biodiversity lists. 

Before 2021, the last survey was conducted in 1986. The need for such monitoring is evidenced by the fact that the Grenada Bank Tree Boa occurs on the island but was not recorded during field research. Currently, visitor activities and access to the island are unrestricted. 

The project will train Unionites in species removal methodology and basic biodiversity monitoring (identification of fauna and flora) on the island. It will then hire trained participants to work along with an expert in carrying out removal of species and biodiversity data collection and, finally, interpretive signs will be installed. 

7 replies on “Efforts continue to eradicate rats from Frigate Island”

  1. Nathan Jolly Green says:

    The rats must be being fed by something and most commonly they are feeding on nesting birds eggs and also killing and eating birds.

    There are a number of predators that will control the rats but they also will eat the birds and their eggs. So removing one problem and replacing with another problem is not a choice.

    The bush Boa is a snake that will catch and eat rats, feral cats will eat rats, and there are several types of hawks in the Caribbean that will kill and eat rats. The Vincentian Screech Owle is a night time hunter of rats.

    The rat is a small creature that can feed on almost anything. It is considered a deadly pest, as it was deemed to be the harbinger of the Bubonic plague. Thankfully, its population can be controlled with the help of certain predators, such as the cat, rat snake, hawk, owl, and falcon. But all of these bring a danger also to nesting sea birds.

    The only answer are bated cage traps placed where the rats are known to burrow and nest. Open rat traps should not be uses they are a danger to all wild life. Poison should not be used because it is not selective and will poison any other creature that decides to eat it or a poisoned rat.

    I do not hold out most hope because the SVG government do not like spending money on such things as rat infestation. Kingstown is alive with rats they are everywhere, the government have not even got that under control with all the diseases that rats naturally carry that kill people. Like leptospirosis, and a whole host of other serious transmittable diseases.

  2. I wonder if any of our covid-hysteric mental giants in government have ever considered cats. If they were able to build or bring some cat shelters and cats to the island that could help. They should also consider that these owls probably hunt these rats and they could also hunt cats. It may become a ballance in nature or it may not. The topic should be looked into.

  3. Provide me with shelter, food and a few dozen cats and I’ll bet you every toot man bag-I will disappear in no time. Cats have proven to be a real headache for rats. They just cannot survive side by side. And I think it’s a fairly inexpensive method.

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