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invasive species

South Georgia: How to beat a rat plague

Poison, dogs and helicopters - how scientists pulled out all the stops to protect South Georgia's wildlife from a plague of rats.

South Georgia is a remote island in the southern Atlantic, not far from the Antarctic Circle. A land of snow and ice, South Georgia has no permanent human population. But it's home to a surprising variety of flora and fauna, including penguins, numerous sea birds and seals.

Invasive species have also made their home on South Georgia - the expense of local wildlife.  Which is why scientists undertook the world's biggest rat extermination program there.

Pulling out all the stops, they appear to achieved what many said was impossible - wiping out the island's entire rat population and giving the birds whose young they preyed on a new lease of life.

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