Rat Island, Alaska:
As I have noted in the past, rats are responsible for more animal extinctions in the last 400 years than any other single causal agent. Almost all of these extinctions have been birds endemic to small tropical islands, but a few islands outside of the tropics are also besieged by rats. Which brings us to aptly named "Rat Island" in Alaska where rats stranded there after the 1780 wreck of a Japanese sailing ship have multiplied and decimated the auklet population. Now, it seems, the island is set to get a good dose of rat poison thank to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If the USFWS wants some tips on how to "get 'er done," they might talk to the folks in New Zealand who rid Campbell Island of rats there after using 120 TONS of rat poison (over 240,000 pounds). A hat tip to Matt Mullenix for pointing me to the Alaska story.
The Case for Repeal of the Hunting Act:
The Brits are slow to mount American-style public relations and lobbying campaigns, and so it has only taken them a couple of years to put out a decent piece of literature arguing for the repeal of the Hunting Act (PDF). Better late than never, and a hat tip to the Countryside Alliance for this one.
Are Dogs the New Genetic Model?
Thanks to pervasive inbreeding that has resulted in nearly every Kennel Club breed being reduced to a specific kind of genetic wreckage, dogs are now a new gene model for science. There is a nice article on all this over at Gene Expression. A hat tip to Prairie Mary for pointing me to this story.
It seems you can't turn around these days without someone coming up with a new breed of dog. This time, it's one called the Texas Terrier. Each to his own, and may the sea rise up to float whatever boat they are building. For a list of other recent (successful and unsuccessful) terrier breeds, see this older post.