Island Conservation organization will receive $239,922 from the $942,206 awarded by United States Department of Interior grant for eradication and control of invasive species, to help with eradication of feral cats in Ulong Island of the Koror State’s Rock Islands Southern Lagoon.

In 2019, OIA awarded a grant to Island Conservation to support eradication of rat populations from the Ngemelis Island area, also in the Rock Islands. Feral cat removal is a necessary next step to help solidify and achieve full recovery of plant, bird, and marine species, many of which are found nowhere else and are linked directly to food and plant materials that Palauans depend on for livelihood and also serve as a critical attraction for tourists. Island Conservation is a nonprofit organization based in California, with a mission to prevent extinctions by removing invasive species.

The grant which comes from FY 2020 Coral Reef and Natural Resource Initiative is to help with eradication and control of spread of invasive species in the U.S. territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas, the Republic of Palau and Yap State of the Federated States of Micronesia.

The funding will be used to introduce biological control of coconut rhinoceros beetles, control and eradicate feral cats and monitor lizards and destroy wild vines, all of which are disruptive to ecological systems and impacting communities and livelihoods of the islands according to press release from DOI.

“Secretary Bernhardt and I are pleased to provide this funding to destroy invasive species that are disruptive to people’s livelihood, food supplies, and natural eco-systems,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “We appreciate Congress for making these opportunities possible through annual appropriations and are also happy to announce these grant awards during the 2020 National Invasive Species Awareness Week to help increase awareness about invasive species in the islands.”

Other recipients include University of Guam to receive $239,994 grant to control coconut rhinoceros beetle and Mariana Island Nature Alliance (MINA) to receive $222,320 to control the spread of invasive vines.  Island Conservation will also receive $239,970 to eradicate the outbreak of monitor lizards in Ulithi Atoll in Yap.