Officials say tiny California island now rat-free

ANACAPA ISLAND, Calif. — Authorities say they've won the war against rats on a Southern California island.

A decade after a $3 million extermination effort, rare species are thriving on the rocky preserve a dozen miles offshore, National Park Service officials announced this week.

Ashy storm-petrels, a type of seabird, are nesting on the island for the first time ever recorded, and another seabird, the Cassin's auklet, has expanded its territories in the absence of rats as predators, according to a Park Service statement released Wednesday.

The number of Scripps's murrelets bird nests has quadrupled with a 50 percent increase of eggs hatched, the statement said.

"Nowhere are the threats of extinction higher than on islands, and nowhere do we have greater opportunities to save species at risk," said Gregg Howald, North America regional director for the group Island Conservation, a Park Service contractor.

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