Multi-species predator eradication within a predator-proof fence at Ka‘ena Point, Hawai‘i

Abstract

Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve on O‘ahu hosts one of the largest seabird colonies in the main Hawaiian Islands and supports three species of endangered plants. In order to stop chronic predation by invasive alien mammals on native species, a peninsula-style predator-proof fence was constructed around a 20-ha portion of the reserve in 2011. Multi-species predator removal efforts began upon fence completion; diphacinone poison in bait boxes spaced 25 m apart was used to remove black rats, house mice, and small Indian mongooses. House mice also were removed with multiple-catch live traps spaced 12.5 m apart. Feral cats were removed with padded leg-hold traps. Feral cats and mongooses were eradicated in 1 month, black rats were eradicated in 2.5 months, and house mice were eradicated in about 9 months. Since eradication, incursions of cats and mongoose have been rare (1/7.2 months), but incursion frequency has been higher for black rats (1/56 days) and house mice (1/36–47 days). Buffer predator control was conducted to limit predator access and prevent reinvasion around the fence ends along the shoreline. Even with the high initial fence cost and ongoing predator incursion management, this method is expected to become more cost effective than previous predator control efforts after 16 years. Record numbers of Wedge-tailed shearwaters and Laysan albatrosses have fledged from the reserve after predator eradication, and regeneration of native plants and invertebrates is being observed. With careful planning and persistence, predator fences can be a cost-effective method of protecting natural resources, and multiple species of predators can be eradicated with traps and first-generation anti-coagulents.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife for funding, permits to conduct the work, and field assistance. We also thank the David and Lucille Packard Foundation for funding the eradication and seabird monitoring. We thank the US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, particularly Homer Leong and Tyler Ota, for conducting large mammal predator control and providing data on previous trapping efforts. We thank Xcluder Pest Proof Fencing for constructing the fence and providing feedback, and Alan Saunders, Keith Broome, and John Parkes of Landcare Research for reviewing our initial eradication plan. Finally, we thank all the volunteers, particularly Dave Anderson, Sheldon Plentovich, and Amanda Hardman, who assisted in checking traps.

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Correspondence to Lindsay C. Young.

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Young, L.C., VanderWerf, E.A., Lohr, M.T. et al. Multi-species predator eradication within a predator-proof fence at Ka‘ena Point, Hawai‘i. Biol Invasions 15, 2627–2638 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-013-0479-y

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Keywords

  • Hawai‘i
  • Island species
  • Predator eradication
  • Predator fence