Dogs have joined the fight against invasive rats on Lehua Island.
The Department of Land and Natural resources started a project in 2017 to get rid of the rats by dropping rat poison in phases. They thought it worked, but recently motion-activated cameras picked up images of what are believed to be two or three rats.
The DLNR will deploy rat-detection dogs to the island over the next two months to help sniff out the rodents. Similar, specially-trained dogs have proven to be extremely successful in finding their targets as evidenced by their recent use to detect avian botulism at the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Once the scent is identified, the handlers then help the dogs pinpoint the precise areas where rats are located. The dogs are trained and handled to minimize their interactions with native birds.
According to the DLNR the rats attack native seabirds, and eat their eggs and chicks.