Press release – Growing population of rats (R. rattus) in the famous Rock Islands of Koror State poses threat to native animal and plant species. It also poses threat of possible spread of diseases, raising public health concerns.
The Ministry of Health, its Environmental Health and Public Health bureaus, Koror State Government (KSG) Cultural Division and the Koror State Rangers held a meeting to address growing rodent populations in the Koror Rock Islands.
Health Minister Greg Ngirmang expressed President Remengesau’s concern over rodent presence in particular Rock Islands such as Ulong. “It’s becoming a nuisance and should be addressed immediately to prevent further and possibly irreversible impacts on public health and the environment,” the President stated in his Cabinet meeting on December 12.
KSG Rangers Division Director, Jose Ise, highlighted their efforts in a pilot project at the Rock Islands with the NGO, Island Conservation and Palau’s Environmental Consortium Partners utilizing special baits and stations to reduce rodent population in the Rock Islands.
“These efforts are being made with extreme precaution with the utmost consideration to the islands’ native species. We aim to remove rodents and reduce their effects to surrounding wild-life and native species such as Palau’s Bekai (Palau Megapode) which has shown to be vulnerable to the baits, so prevention measures are being practiced to protect the species and others,” states Ise.
The pilot project’s key objective is to identify the most practicable and safest procedures in implementing an all-rock island rodent reduction plan that may include select rock island closures for implementation and rotating closure schedules to accommodate tourists and local visitors.
Palau’s tourism growth has brought more visitors to the rock islands raising concerns over capacity and health over the essential facilities such as the public restrooms. KSG Cultural Division Director Scott Yano revealed 2017 development plans being made to rehabilitate composting toilet systems in the rock islands, addressing this public health concern.
Participating in the meeting were Health Minister, Greg Ngirmang, KSG Rangers Division Director, Jose Ise, KSG Cultural Division Director, Scott Yano, Public Health Director, Sherilynn Madraisau and Environmental Health Acting Chief, Eden Uchel. [/restrict]