, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 751-759
Date: 21 May 2009

Modeling the eradication of invasive mammals using the sterile male technique

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Abstract

Large vertebrates, like the domestic goat (Capra hircus), have been transported all over the world and are an ecological disaster to numerous island and mainland ecosystems. Eradication measures for such species are generally centered on lethal methods of removing individuals, an increasingly difficult process as populations become smaller and individual animals become much more difficult to detect. In addition, methods of lethal removal are becoming less desirable in the public eye, prompting the necessity to explore alternatives. Here we investigate the use of the sterile males technique as an effective strategy in the eradication of large mammals. The results of our simulations suggest that the use of sterile males as a single strategy would only be an effective measure to eradicate relatively small (no more than 100 individuals) isolated feral vertebrate populations. However, our results indicate that the technique could be employed as a successful and potentially cost-effective end-point complement to lethal control and/or as a preventative measure against re-invasion.