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Eradication of rock pigeons, Columba livia, from the Galápagos Islands

R. Brand Phillips, Brian D. Cooke, Victor Carrión, Howard L. Snell
Biological conservation 2012 v.147 no.1 pp. 264-269
Columba livia, air, biodiversity, birds, introduced species, islands, mammals, Galapagos Islands
Alien species can negatively affect global biodiversity, especially on islands. Significant advances in methods for eradicating mammals from islands have been achieved. In contrast, development of methods for eradicating birds from islands has lagged and few islands have had alien birds successfully eradicated. We report on a 7year campaign to remove rock pigeons from the Galapagos Islands. To date this is the largest successful eradication of an alien bird from an island system and the only eradication of rock pigeons from an island. Multiple methods were tested and used, including alpha-chloralose, however, shooting with a high-powered air rifle was the most efficient removal technique. Incorporating the support of the community and local agencies into the campaign was critical to the success of the project.