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1 March 2008 High-impact Conservation: Invasive Mammal Eradications from the Islands of Western México
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Abstract

Islands harbor a disproportionate amount of the earth's biodiversity, but a significant portion has been lost due in large part to the impacts of invasive mammals. Fortunately, invasive mammals can be routinely removed from islands, providing a powerful tool to prevent extinctions and restore ecosystems. Given that invasive mammals are still present on more than 80% of the world's major islands groups and remain a premier threat to the earth's biodiversity, it is important to disseminate replicable, scaleable models to eradicate invasive mammals from islands. We report on a successful model from western México during the past decade. A collaborative effort between nongovernmental organizations, academic biologists, Mexican government agencies, and local individuals has resulted in major restoration efforts in three island archipelagos. Forty-two populations of invasive mammals have been eradicated from 26 islands. For a cost of USD 21 615 per colony and USD 49 370 per taxon, 201 seabird colonies and 88 endemic terrestrial taxa have been protected, respectively. These conservation successes are a result of an operational model with three main components: i) a tri-national collaboration that integrates research, prioritization, financing, public education, policy work, capacity building, conservation action, monitoring, and evaluation; ii) proactive and dedicated natural resource management agencies; and iii) effective partnerships with academic researchers in México and the United States. What is now needed is a detailed plan to eradicate invasive mammals from the remaining islands in the region that integrates the needed additional financing, capacity, technical advances, and policy issues. Island conservation in western México provides an effective approach that can be readily applied to other archipelagos where conservation efforts have been limited.

Received: 4 January 2007; Accepted: 1 July 2007; Published: 1 March 2008
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