Geographic Tools for Eradication Programs of Insular Non-native Mammals

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Abstract

Non-native mammals are major drivers of ecosystem change and biodiversity loss; this is especially apparent on islands. However, techniques exist to remove non-native mammals, providing a powerful conservation tool. Conservation practitioners are now targeting larger islands for restoration. Leveraging existing and developing new techniques and technologies will prove critical to successful eradications on large islands. Using the removal of introduced goats (Capra hircus) from Santiago Island, Galápagos as a case study, we present a suite of Geographic Information System (GIS) tools that aid island conservation actions. GIS tools were incorporated into the three phases of the eradication campaign: planning, hunting, and monitoring. Further, these tools were adopted for three eradication techniques: ground-based hunting, aerial hunting by helicopter, and Judas goats. These geographic approaches provide a foundation for statistical, spatial, and economic analyses that should increase the capability and efficiency of removal campaigns. Given limited conservation funds and the dire status of many insular species, efficiently removing non-native mammals from islands is of paramount global conservation importance.

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