There are many ways to deal with a pest infestation. However, in a Galapagos island, animal lovers are using a unique cutting-edge method to deal with an outbreak of rats considered a threat to native bird life. However, environmental conservationists are fighting back, using drones.
The Galapagos islands are part of the Republic of Ecuador in South America, located on the equator on the Pacific Ocean. It is a part of the world renowned for its incredible views and stunning natural beauty. For most people, it is the epitome of paradise on earth. However, it has been reported that over 50% of the land mass of North Seymour Island has been overrun with rats, leading to environmental conservationists to fly in drones. They have been used to disperse rodent poison to deal with the danger to the island’s rare indigenous birds, which have been ravaged by the onslaught of rats.
The outbreak of both brown and black rats was first noticed last year, prompting the NGO Island Conservation and the Galapagos’ Ministry of the Environment to act immediately and use drones to rectify the problem.
They are reportedly believed to be a quicker and more cost-effective alternative to helicopters which have previously been employed to get rid of rodents in other parts of the world. However, due to North Seymour’s remote location, which was only accessible by boat, made the use of helicopters impossible. What’s more, drones are generally considered far more accurate when dispensing the poison, compared to a helicopter. Especially as the drones were equipped with special hoppers to help deliver their payload.
The drones flew a series of trips over the island, lasting fifteen minutes at a time, where they dropped approximately 44lb, or 20 kg of poison. Specifically designed by Bells Lab, utilising a custom-made formula to deal with North Seymour’s extreme weather conditions. The drones covered almost half of the island while the remaining 0.7 sq. miles, known for its rugged terrain, was cared for by a team of in excess of thirty park rangers, battling the rat infestation on the front line.