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Island Sanctuaries
Island Sanctuaries is presented by Nicholas Carlile from the Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW).

Different species face very different threats to their survival and on Island Sanctuaries, Nicholas discusses the ingenious solutions developed by this team of dedicated island ecologists.
As Seabird Project Officer in the threatened Fauna Ecology Unit, Nicholas has worked extensively on the development of secure and sustainable habitats for threatened native species. Most of these are on small islands off the NSW coast. Islands – unlike the mainland can be totally cleared of invasive weeds and animal pests and predators. The ground breaking work of Nicholas and his colleagues at DEC is recognised internationally and been successful in helping bring back from the brink of extinction both the world’s rarest insect - the Lord Howe Island Phasmid - and the world's rarest bird - the Bermuda Petrel.

Below: Bullers Albatross chick on Solander Island. Photo from Nicholas Carlile.

  Lion Island
Like most of the NSW islands, Lion Island is a nature reserve. Close to Sydney, it is a beautiful forested island near Barrenjoey Lighthouse at Palm Beach.

  Tracking our wedge-tailed shearwaters
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has just started a new seabird project on wedge-tailed shearwaters, a species of mutton bird that occurs in reasonable numbers in NSW all the way down to Montague Island. However, work from Lord Howe Island and Heron Island, where these shearwaters have been tracked, suggests that some of the northern populations aren’t doing as well as the southern ones. This is important since the NSW populations on different islands are sub populations that don’t interact. Nicholas Carlile is currently tracking 80-90 wedge-tailed shearwaters from four different populations, using global light-sensitive loggers that are small enough to be fitted on the 300-400gm wedge-tailed shearwater.

  The next big thing
Nicholas Carlile, Senior Research Scientist for Threatened Island Fauna at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, outlines a new island rehabilitation project at Five Islands Nature Reserve.

  Sniffer Detection Dogs in protecting threatened wildlife
Dogs have been used for hunting for millennia, not only for their brilliant sense of smell but also because they co-exist with humans and can be trained. Even in WWII dogs were given animal VCs for their efforts in sniffing out humans caught in bomb-blasted buildings in the Blitz in Britain. It has taken us this long to get dogs involved in the management of threatened wildlife, particularly seabirds. Indeed, New Zealand has been using detector dogs for almost 20 years to manage threatened species and to help remove pest species in conservation programs. Steve Austin, professional dog trainer, outlines how dogs are trained to detect specific scents and why this work is important Nicholas Carlile, Senior Research Scientist for Threatened Island Fauna in the NSW Office for Environment and Heritage, tracks down the role sniffer dogs have in protecting threatened species like seabirds.

  White-faced storm-petrel
Do the white thing: Nicholas Carlile, Senior Research Scientist for Threatened Island Fauna at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, takes a look at one of the smallest seabirds, the White-faced storm-petrel.

  Lord Howe Island (series)
In this series, Nicholas Carlile presents the long term and ongoing battle to return Lord Howe Islands ecology to its former glory - before the introduction of rats and mice. Lord Howe Island was isolated for six million years. Birds flourished, as did turtles and a great array of indigenous, unique invertebrates (including the Lord Howe Phasmid), because of the absence of land predators. This Eden-like island was discovered by First Fleeters on their way to Norfolk Island with the first human settlement coming later in the 1830s. Howver it was not until 1918, as aresult of a maritime disaster that the black rat was accidentally introduced. Since then, rats have devastated the ecology on the island. Five terrestrial bird species are extinct, the giant stick insect (the Phasmid) is no longer there and vegetation has been destroyed. The rats remove seedlings, stop plants from regenerating, take seeds, and eat plant pith. This has totally changed the structure of the forests and the soil.

At last: Lord Howe Island rodent eradication program approved
Nicholas Carlile, from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, charts how rodents will finally be removed from the Australia’s offshore Lord Howe Island. About 500km off Port Macquarie in the Tasman Sea and discovered by James Cook, the first people on the island were in May 1788, filling their ships with turtles and birds and fresh water on their way to Norfolk Island. The first rodents to arrive were house mice. The ship (black rat) rat arrived through the careening of the Mikabo, that hit rocks and its stores from Sydney were offloaded - including black rats. The rats flourished and destroyed the native Lord Howe phasmid and nine species of bush birds. Some seabirds only successfully breed now on the outer islands where there were no rats. Agricultural attempts to produce commercial crops have been decimated by rats and mice. In 2001-2002 the NSW National Parks and Wildlife (now Heritage) undertook developing an effective plan for rodent eradication of rodents. These were the only remaining feral pests left after removal of goats, pigs and cats. The eradication could not disrupt tourism or impact humans or human health and so it is based on the method pioneered by New Zealanders almost 30 years earlier and had eradicated rodents from more than 300 islands. The program will start on the 1st June 2018 and by the 22nd there should be no surviving rodents. 100 tons of rubbish have already been removed from the island and the ground baiting and hand baiting will cover all settlement areas, including every shed, roof cavity and sub-floor. The baiting is deliberately planned for winter when food resources are quite poor. It will take two years of monitoring to prove the $9 million eradication a success.

  Tracking down Petrel de Gould
Nicholas Carlile ventures into new ground looking at a Petrel de Gould, the close cousin to Australia’s Gould’s Petrel.

  Petrel de Gould - one year down the track
For the first time these birds' journeys of thousands of kilometres over many months have been identified.

  First world conference on seabirds
The first world conference on seabirds, held in Victoria, Canada in September 2010 was an important forum to review the global issues that affect many seabirds.

  The critically endangered Fiji Petrel (series)
There are only three specimens of the Fiji Petrel known to Science. The first was discovered in 1855 and a second in 1983. The more recent discovery of a third in 2007 has raised hopes that there may still be a viable population breeding on a remote Fijian island.

  Broughton Island (series)
Windswept, low lying and the largest of the NSW coastal islands, Broughton is the only island open to the general public.

  Montague Island (series)
Montague Island – another success story in island restoration. Removing rabbits and goats was straightforward - this time, the major pest to beat is a PLANT.

  The moonscape that is Phillip Island (series)
Phillip Island is located near Norfolk Island. Once covered in tall Norfolk Pines, this paradise for many seabird species has become a barren moonscape and restoration involves not just the vegetation but the island's very soil, so that the rich birdlife can thrive.

  Surveying our seabirds
A survey program of islands off the Australian coast, run through the Australasian Seabird Group (ASG) and the NSW Department of Environment Climate Change and Water (DECCW) has commenced - many have not been surveyed since the 1970s.

  2009 Australasian Ornithological Conference in Armidale
  Wings of a Seabird
  Island sanctuaries updates
  Translocation - building an island sanctuary for Goulds Petrel
  Translocation - a mainland sanctuary for Little Penguins
  From the ashes of extinction -the Bermuda Petrel

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