Q&A with Gregg Howald, Project Director
Islands host about 20% of all species and 50% of endangered species. Sadly, extinction rates are exponentially greater on islands. Globally, 50-90% of recorded animal extinctions have occurred on islands, with most extinction caused by invasive species. Remove invasive species and island ecosystems have a chance to recover. Gregg Howald, one of the world’s foremost experts on island restoration, speaks about removing rats and other invasive species from islands to prevent extinctions.
What do you do?
We work with government agencies and local communities to build their capacity to undertake science-driven management of islands. We also develop invasive species removal techniques, and conduct research to inform conservation action.
What has been your impact?
Over the last 15 years, Island Conservation has restored 33 islands covering 44,457 hectares protecting 239 species and subspecies from the threat of extinction.
Which islands in Canada are you working on?
We’re working on the Scott Islands, located off the extreme northern tip of Vancouver Island, which support upward of two million seabirds. In Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), we are removing rats to protect colonies of ancient murrelets and storm-petrels. Our objective is to restore habitat for re-colonization and enhance seabird breeding.