North Island has invested a great deal of time and effort into its Noah’s Ark Project to rehabilitate the Island to its original state, prior to historical human settlement. This has included the eradication of feral cats (in 2003) and rats (in 2005) as well as extensive ongoing habitat restoration.
The Seychellois ecosystem has responded positively to the rehabilitation efforts with the number of bird species nesting on the Island rising significantly. With the exception of some invasive plant species, common myna birds are now the only remaining alien species that pose a threat to the native and endemic fauna on the island.
Our next goal is to reintroduce additional endemic bird species onto the Island, although these efforts are currently hampered by the large myna population. Mynas have the potential to negatively affect endangered species; they have been identified as nest site competitors of the Seychelles magpie robin, Seychelles flycatcher, Seychelles warbler, and Seychelles kestrel, and are known to raid nests for eggs and hatchlings, and prey on many other creatures. The IUCN has classified the myna as one of the world’s top 100 invasive species.
They are also highly intelligent, which makes eradicating them a real challenge. The first phase of the eradication will start in May 2016, with experts training our staff in humane trapping techniques. Once the remaining population of mynas numbers less than 50 birds, a second phase will begin, involving the removal of individual mynas by pest control professionals.
Any new mynas that fly across to North Island from adjacent islands will be removed as soon as they are detected to ensure that the Island remains free of the invasive birds, so that native and endemic bird species can thrive.
This will be an important stepping stone on North Island’s journey to once more being an entirely intact granitic island ecosystem, and a pristine haven for Seychellois wildlife – to say nothing of humans!