Penguin Island reopened to tourists after successful baiting program
- November 07, 2013
ABOUT 5000 black rats have been killed on Penguin Island after a six-week baiting program.Penguin Island is home to WA's largest colony of little penguins and in January this year a baiting program was announced to get rid of the rats.
Since mid-May only two rats have been detected on the island.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob hailed the program a success this morning as he announced the island was now reopened to tourists.
"The baiting program, which began in January this year, was necessary because introduced rats had become established on Penguin Island and were attacking birds, eggs, penguin chicks and native skinks," Mr Jacob said.
"This is a dramatic reduction in rat numbers and it is hoped that after two years without a sighting we will be able to declare Penguin Island rat-free."
"There is a 'take your rubbish with you' policy in place for Penguin Island, which will remove a potential food source for animals such as rats," he said.
"People enjoy picnicking on the island, so to assist visitors with this new measure, free rubbish bags will be available at Mersey Point before boarding the ferry, or at the island's visitor centre."
To keep control of the rats there will also be bait stations aboard boats and ferries that operate from the island and a public awareness program for those who bring their own vessels.
"In addition there will be inspections of all materials brought to the island and checks of tour vessels will be conducted before the opening of each new visitor season," Mr Jacob said.
Improvements to visitor facilities at the island include construction of a new retaining wall and decking at the picnic area.
Surf Life Saving WA will conduct patrols at Mersey Point on weekends starting from early December, then every day during the school holidays.
There will also be patrols over the Labour Day and Easter long weekends in 2014.