Environmental issues

Pests and weeds

Introduced rats

Lord Howe Island lies in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 700 km north-east of Sydney. European rats were introduced to the island accidentally when a ship ran aground on the island in 1918.

They quickly spread across the island, hunting native animals and competing with them for food. They have been implicated in the decline and extinction of some native birds, lizards, snails and other species. They have also harmed the populations of several plant species.

Eradicating rats and mice from the Lord Howe Island Group

The Lord Howe Island Board has been considering the possibility of eradicating rats and mice from the Lord Howe Island Group for a number of years as part of its responsibility to protect the islands’ ecosystems, the kentia palm and tourism industries, and the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors. Introduced ship rats and house mice are having a significant negative impact on the islands' unique flora and flora, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

The Draft Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Plan (draftLHIrodentplan.pdf; 604 KB) has been prepared to guide the planning and implementation of a program to eradicate rats and mice from the Lord Howe Island Group of islands.

Predation by the ship rat on Lord Howe Island - key threatening process listing
The NSW Scientific Committee has declared ship rats to be a 'key threatening process' on Lord Howe Island. See its reasons for making this declaration.

Page last updated: 28 October 2011