Frankland and North Barnard islands reopen after control work
22 June 2018
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) has completed its work to control black rats in the Frankland and North Barnard Islands Groups National Parks south-east of Cairns, with no interruption to diving and snorkelling tours during the work.
QPWS Acting Regional Director Dan Schaper said all the islands had reopened to visitors, including camping at Russell and Kent islands. Camping permits are available at www.qld.gov.au
“The control of black rats on these islands was a high priority to help restore valuable seabird nesting habitat in the area and now, thanks to eradication efforts, there is little evidence of the pests,” Mr Schaper said.
“These beautiful Great Barrier Reef islands are a magnet for day visitors – especially divers and snorkelers who take the daily tour to Normanby Island’s fringing reefs – and the popular campground on Russell Island.
“The islands are also important for seabird breeding, and for migratory birds on their annual migration from the northern hemisphere.
“Black rats weren’t affecting the human visitors in any way, but they were raiding the seabird colonies and eating the eggs on some islands. QPWS conducted a successful baiting program in late May-early June 2018 and our monitoring shows little evidence of rats now.
“We will keep monitoring the recovery of seabird numbers at the colonies, and expect to see the benefits of the work soon.”
Mr Schaper said QPWS rangers working on the islands in recent weeks had seen an abundance of wildlife, in the sea, around the shorelines and in the interior of the islands.
“Green turtles, dolphins, manta rays, white-bellied sea-eagles, sooty oystercatchers, varied honeyeaters and sacred kingfishers are just some of the wildlife they've spotted. The first humpback whales have arrived on their northern migration and will soon be here in numbers, enjoying the warm tropical waters.
“This is an amazing part of Australia, and we encourage anyone who loves beautiful scenery, interesting birds and colourful reef-life to visit at least once,” he said.