Deforestation, industrialization and climate change are constantly listed as the main causes of the increasing list of endangered species. However, the impacts of human activities in biodiversity can be traced back to the 1500s. Rats and mice were common passengers of many boats during the exploration era and found their route to thousands of islands worldwide. Today, invasive rodents are present in 80% of the world’s islands, putting other species at great risk. It is estimated that 75% of extinctions have happened on islands and mice and rats are the primary cause of it, according to Karen Poiani, CEO of Island Conservation.
The good news is: humans can also help save species at risk of extinction. Investments on traditional conservation efforts are key, but so is the development of genetic technologies if we want to revert current biodiversity loss trends, highlights Poiani. Although in early stages of research, gene drive could be one of these innovative solutions. In addition, it is also more cost-effective and poses less risk to other species than current methods applied to eradicate alien invasive species from islands.
The full article is available on The Blog Post.