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May 19, 2024
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The Return of the Breaksea Rat Busters
Produced by: Deborah Nation
3 hours by sea out from Doubtful Sound on the uninhabited south west coast of New Zealand, The wild Breaksea Island, was identified back in the late 1970ís as an ideal refuge for endangered birds, if it were not for itís ever-growing population of rats. When DSIR Ecologist Rowley Taylor came up with a method to eradicate the vermin from this steep 170 hectare area, everyone thought he was mad. But with the help of Bruce Thomas and support from the Fiordland National Park, the invasive Norway rat population was successfully removed, first from Hawea Island in 1986 and then Breaksea, two years later. Rowley and Bruce became pioneers for the eradication of pests from islands, and forerunners to the establishment of sanctuaries on mainland and off shore islands. Almost twenty years on from their pioneering project, the two return to see the fruits of their labour, and to relive the gory glory of their battle against the rat.

Program Credits

The Return of the BreakSea Rat Busters was produced by Deborah Nation of Radio New Zealand. It airs as part of the international documentary exchange series, Crossing Boundaries.


Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park occupies the southwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the largest of the 14 national parks in New Zealand.

Rodent Invasion Project
The University of Auckland rodent invasion research group is a loosely knit collection of researchers focusing on the dynamics of rodent distribution and invasion throughout New Zealand and its offshore islands.

Rat - a World Menace
by: A. Moore Hogarth 2005
Originally published in the early 1900s, this work on the Rat has now republished, using the original text and illustrations. The author was an acknowledged expert upon pests and their extinction.

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Programs by Deborah Nation

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Above the Deep: Seabirds
Blackwater Estuary, The
Everglades, The
Evolution Boomerang, The
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Surviving Extinction

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