Hon Albert Jacob BEnvDes M.Arch JP MLA

Hon Albert Jacob BEnvDes M.Arch JP MLA

Former Minister for Environment; Heritage

    Penguin Island declared rat-free after baiting

    27/10/2016 10:00 AM
    • Up to 5,000 black rats removed from popular island
    • Improved survival for little penguins, birds and skinks

    A successful baiting and biosecurity program has eradicated predatory black rats from Penguin Island, home to Western Australia's largest colony of little penguins.


    Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the Liberal National Government had removed up to 5,000 black rats from the island, increasing the chances of penguin, and other seabird, chicks surviving into adulthood.


    "This is an outstanding result for one of Perth's favourite family and nature-based destinations," Mr Jacob said.


    "Black rats are one of the world's most widespread and destructive invasive animal species. The rats were attacking birds, eggs, penguin chicks and native skinks.


    "No black rats have been recorded on the island for more than three years, so people can visit the island and appreciate our native wildlife."


    The Department of Parks and Wildlife baiting program started in January 2013 and was followed up with extensive monitoring using motion sensor cameras and cage traps.


    The Government has measures in place to help prevent a rat reinfestation, including a 'take your rubbish with you' policy, bait stations on ferries and boats which operate from Penguin Island, regular boat inspections and a public awareness program for those bringing their own vessels.


    "It's important that visitors observe these measures to remove any food source that may attract rats back to the island," the Minister said.


    "The island has reopened for the summer. I would like everyone to enjoy what the island has to offer while respecting the native animals."


    During the winter months, the island's boardwalk was given a $460,000 upgrade.


    Sections of the boardwalk have been replaced and realigned, improving visitor accessibility and creating additional nesting habitat for the little penguins and seabirds, including the migratory bridled tern.


    Surf Life Saving WA will patrol Mersey Point, the departure area for Penguin Island, at weekends from December 12, 2016 and every day throughout the school holidays.


    Fact File

    • Penguin Island, a Class A conservation park less than 700 metres from Shoalwater, is home to about 1,000 little penguins, along with more than 30 species of sea birds and five species of reptiles
    • The island receives more than 135,000 visits annually

    Minister's office - 6552 5800


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