Helicopters Dropping Poison: Coming Soon To A Forest Near You?

Flickr: The U.S. Army

KAHANAHAIKI — Rats are a serious threat to native and endangered plants and animals in Hawaii. They prey on native birds, sea turtles and tree snails and consume seeds, fruits, flowers and plants.

The problem is so serious, with millions of rats on Oahu alone, that the U.S. Army could soon float an Environmental Impact Statement as a precursor to an "aerial broadcast" campaign. A bucket hung from a helicopter would be used to disperse rat poison across large swaths of inaccessible forest for the first time on the main Hawaiian Islands.

Steve Mosher, Elepaio and Small Vertebrate Pest Program Manager for the U.S. Army's Natural Resources Program, says there is no active plan to implement the campaign. The Army just wants to keep its options open. The idea — already used on the uninhabited islands of Mokapu off Molokai in 2008 and Lehua off Kauai last year — is merely in its infancy.

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