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In 2012, the Galápagos National Park led a rodent eradication effort on the island of Pinzón with the goal of protecting giant tortoises. In the months following the eradication project, more than 50 percent of the population of Galápagos hawks died, despite their having been held in captivity during the at-risk period (a technique that had protected them previously). Researchers suspect the hawk deaths were due to rodenticide entering the food chain through a prey source with sublethal exposure. In this study, researchers will evaluate the long-term presence of rodenticide in prey sources of Galápagos hawks. The investigators will analyze lava lizards and invertebrates collected during the two years after the implementation of the rodent eradication project to determine the rate of elimination of the rodenticide from the food web and ecosystem of the island. This project will benefit the remaining Pinzón hawks and has the potential to save many additional endemic island species through improved understanding of how island rodent eradication programs affect non-target species.

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University of Minnesota
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United States
Julia B. Ponder, DVM
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